Local roundup: Jackie Smith named women's basketball coach at Conn College
New London — Jackie Smith, an assistant coach at George Washington the past two seasons, was named head coach of the Connecticut College women's basketball program on Tuesday, athletic director Fran Shields announced.
Smith replaces Brian Wilson, who left after nine seasons to become an assistant at Division I Quinnipiac University in Hamden.
It will be the first head coaching job for Smith, who played for Jennifer Rizzotti at the University of Hartford, served three seasons as an assistant under Rizzotti at her alma mater, then followed the Hall of Famer to George Washington as the program's recruiting coordinator, where the Colonials won the 2018 Atlantic 10 title and qualified for the NCAA Div. I tournament.
"I am thrilled about this opportunity, and I would like to thank Fran Shields and his committee for welcoming me to Connecticut College," Smith said in a release. "The athletic department's pursuit of excellence, both academically and athletically, will match perfectly with my values. I am also thankful to be taking over a program which has dedicated student-athletes that have had success in the classroom and on the court, and I look forward to building upon what former head coach Brian Wilson was able to accomplish."
Conn qualified for the New England Small College Athletic Conference four times during Wilson's tenure, including three straight from 2014-16.
"We are very excited to welcome Jackie Smith into our community," Shields said. "We are confident that she can take a healthy existing program even higher given her great mentors as well as her valuable coaching and recruiting experience. It was evident throughout our process that Jackie will also place a strong emphasis on the student-athlete experience."
Smith, a Westfield (Mass.) native, graduated from Hartford in 2011, where she was a two-time captain and helped lead the Hawks to three NCAA tournament appearances and the program's first NCAA victory, a first round win over Syracuse in 2008.
• Liam Milewski and Jon Balocca combined to pitch a no-hitter as Niantic beat Winsted 4-2 to stay alive in the state tournament. Niantic hosts unbeaten West Hartford on Wednesday at 1 p.m. and, if it wins, would play a second game 30 minutes later. Milewski struck out seven over five innings and Balocca struck out two in the final two innings. Trevor Delesdernier was 2-for-3 with two RBI, Matt Malcom was 3-for-4 and scored twice and Matt Abbey had an RBI triple for Niantic.
• Darwin Alvarado hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Connecticut Tigers beat the State College Spikes 4-1 in a New York-Penn League game. Jordan Verdon doubled twice and Nick Ames had a single and a double for the Tigers (18-17), who scored two runs on a throwing error in the first inning. Gio Arriera (2-2) got the win, allowing two hits and no runs over six innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
• The Winnipesaukee Muskrats jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings and went on to beat the Mystic Schooners 6-3 in a New England Collegiate Baseball League game. Freddy Sabido (Wagner) was 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles for the Schooners (20-19). Sabido will be Mystic's representative in the home run derby at the NECBL All-Star Game on Sunday and teammate Brett Rodriguez (Wofford) will participate in the 60-yard dash competition.
• New London's AJ Dillon has been named preseason player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Boston College running back, who rushed for 1,589 yards last season — the second most by any freshman in ACC history — received 45 of 148 votes from media members to edge Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who had 42.