FARMINGTON — Being the sixth player coming off the bench for University of Maine at Farmington’s women’s basketball team is about to become a distant memory for Kennadi Grover.

Sure, she started a few games and has seen plenty of action the past three years at Dearborn Gymnasium. But the senior has been promoted to the Beavers’ starting five and her leadership role is about to expand this season.

Is she nervous?

“Not really,” Grover said with bright and reassuring smile at Dearborn last week. “I’ve played pretty decently the last three years. I feel like I will be fine. I have started a few games for three years.

“I am really excited about it. Hopefully, I will be a good asset to the starting lineup this year.

“I want to make sure we succeed as a team and everyone is having fun being competitive because I guess I am really competitive. It is my last season so I want to come out with a bang. I will try my hardest all season.”

For the past three seasons, she has been backing up two outstanding UMF players: Meghan Smith and Elizabeth Ferry.

“The thing about Kennadi is she is a scorer,” UMF coach Jamie Beaudoin said. “She is a post player that has a knack for scoring in tight areas — a little spin in the post and getting the ball up on the backboard.

“She has been playing behind Meghan Smith and Elizabeth Ferry for three years. It is her year to step out and show herself a little bit more. I think she has been a nice complement to both of them.”

The 5-foot-8 senior forward from Cushing, Maine, was a three-sport athlete at Oceanside High School.

Beaudoin is looking to Grover to not only put up points on the scoreboard but take command on the court.

“She has always played big minutes for us so she is going to have the opportunity to start, be a little bit more of a leader,” Beaudoin said. “I think we are trying to get her to be a little bit more vocal in her group.

“She’s very down to earth. She is very quiet. You won’t notice a giddy-up in her step because she is starting. She is going to go about her business. She is going to play hard.

“Offensively, she adds some things for us. She does have a good basketball IQ. But, again, it is just trying to get her to come out of her shell, be a little bit more of leader for us.”

Beaudoin’s concerns about Grover, who really means business this season, might soon disappear.

“As a team, I want to make it to the playoffs,” Grover said. “The biggest goal is winning the NAC championship.”

Coach: Jamie Beaudoin, 18th year

Last year’s record: 11-15 overall; 8-9 in NAC. Finished in fifth place in UMF’s conference. Lost your first-round game to New England College

Key players and promising newcomers to watch: Senior— Kennadi Grover, forward, Abby Hasson, forward; Freshmen: — Sara Lamb, guard; Sydney Petrie, forward

Season outlook: University of Maine at Farmington coach Jamie Beaudoin has a lot on his mind this basketball season.

He needs to find viable replacements for Meghan Smith and Elizabeth Ferry, whose leadership capabilities kept the Beavers on course, and he is looking at grueling opening schedule against a handful of top-notch teams.

“Last year, we had a few signature wins, which are hard to come by,” Beaudoin said. “We beat Bates for the first time since 2007, which is pretty exciting for our senior class. — the first time against a NESCAC school

That was a highlight for us. We won at Castleton State for the first time in a few years. I think that those wins were first semester, I think our seniors have beliefs in trying to accomplish some things this year.”

Like every season, there are new challenges for the Beavers and finding that right combination of a starting five is high on Beaudoin’s priority list.

“I do think we face some challenges with our schedule,” Beaudoin said. “Early on we play four teams who went to the NCAA tournament. “And to replace two really strong seniors — Meghan Smith and Elizabeth Ferry — both for their leadership abilities. They did a lot for us on the court, kind of like an extension of myself and kind of knew what we wanted to accomplish and to be able to incorporate the group into that.

“Where are we going to generate some offense is the biggest question mark we are going to have. We have some talented shooters We have some post players who can score some points in a hurry, but we still have to find a way to get those baskets.”

During a scrimmage game against the University of Southern Maine, the Beavers scored only 46 points, and Beaudoin knows UMF’s offense must increase its output.

“Can we defend well enough?, Yeah, I think we can be competitive,” Beaudoin said. “We to put up a few more points than that.

“We have some guards who can shoot the ball very well. Our post players can score some points and we have a little bit of size with a transfer. Those elements will come in for us. But defensively, I think we will be disciplined as we always been.”

Husson College, Castelton State, Maine Maritime, New England College and Colby Sawyer always give the Beavers a run for their money.

“Every night out, especially in conference, we will have tough night out,” Beaudoin said.

What else is new!


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.