CHESTERTOWN, MD -- The 2011-12 Washington College women's basketball season brought with it a number of milestones for the Shorewomen. The Shorewomen overcame a slow start to the season to win 14 of their final 19 games to post a 16-9 overall record and an 11-9 mark in Centennial Conference play. The 16 wins tied the school record for victories in a singles season while the 11 conference triumphs were their most ever. Perhaps more importantly, it was the program's first winning season since finishing 15-9 in 1998-99.
Coming off a promising 2010-11 season that saw freshmen hold eight of the team's 11 roster spots, hopes were high at the start of the 2011-12 campaign. After the Shorewomen opened the year with a non-conference win at Catholic, they lost four of their next five games to get off to a 2-4 start. Undeterred, Washington won its next six games, capped off by a 65-50 home win over Gettysburg (the Shorewomen's largest margin of victory ever over the Bulletts, and nine of their next 10, capped off by a 61-44 home win over McDaniel (the Shorewomen's fewest points allowed ever in a game against the Green Terror). Both the six-game win streak and the 9-1 mark in a 10-game span were program firsts and ran Washington's record to 11-5. The Shorewomen then hit a rough patch at the end of January by losing four games in a row, but finished strong by winning their final five games - including a 58-50 win at Gettysburg, the Shorewomen's first road win over the Bullets since 1996.
The Shorewomen led the Centennial Conference in rebound margin for the second consecutive season, out-rebounding their opponents by 11.4 per game, a mark good enough to rank them third in all of Division III.
Senior guards and captains Meghan Tait (Oxford, PA/Oxford Area) and Sally O'Donnell (Cape May Court House, NJ/Wildwood Catholic) both joined the Shorewomen's 1,000-career point club during the season. Tait led the Centennial Conference in assists for the third consecutive year, averaging 6.12 per game, and finished her career as the team's all-time leader in career assists (488), free throws made (315), and three-point field-goal percentage (.363). She was named her team's Most Valuable Player, earned a spot on the 2012 All-Centennial Conference first team (the second Shorewoman ever to receive that honor), and became the first Shorewoman ever to be named to the D3Hoops.com All-Region team, landing on the third team. She tied the school record for assists in a single game by dishing out 12 against Johns Hopkins November 29th and recorded the program's second-ever triple-double eight days later by piling up 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists against Swarthmore. O'Donnell, meanwhile led the team in scoring for the third straight year by averaging 11.4 points per game and became the first player in Centennial Conference history with at least 100 career three-points and at least 100 career blocks, finishing with 187 and 115, respectively.
Sophomore forward/center Latisha Pledger (Chesapeake, VA/Indian River) led the Centennial Conference in rebounding by averaging 10.8 caroms per game and also averaged 10.2 points per game to become the first Shorewoman in 11 years to average a double-double for an entire season. She was named the team's Most Improved Player.
Tait, O'Donnell, and sophomore forward Erin Fitzgerald (Greensboro, NC/Bishop McGuiness) all earned spots on the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll, while sophomore forward Liz Warkala (New York, NY/Marymount School of New York) was named to the conference's All-Sportsmanship Team. The entire Shorewomen team, meanwhile, was recognized with the Centennial Conference's Annual Sportsmanship Award for building a close relationship with a local woman with special needs.