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Strictly Come Dancing: Vermont, America East

Who? The Catamounts of Vermont.

Where? Burlington, VT, in western Vermont; it is the "smallest city to be the largest city in its state", according to Wikipedia.

When? Saturday the 13th in West Hartford, CT.

How? Courtnay Pilypaitis's 20 points led the charge as the Catamounts held off a big run by Hartford to win 55-50.

Upset? Yes. No. Sort of. Though Vermont was the second seed, finishing three games behind top-seeded Hartford, a critical injury to Hartford forward Erica Beverly left the Hawks very vulnerable inside and made the Catamounts the favorites, despite Hartford's homecourt advantage.

RPI: 44

SOS: 116

Having seen a bit of the America East in my wanderings through the world of women's basketball, I'm of the opinion that this is a conference that's worthy of two bids and doesn't get enough credit for being competitive (though this season... yeesh, just pretend I said this last year).

Senior guard May Kotsopoulos leads the team with 17.6 points per game, shooting 39.1% from beyond the arc. Feisty senior forward Courtnay Pilypaitis is averaging 14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.7 steals, and one great blog on the season. Both were named to the All-America East first team.

Vermont played a strong out-of-conference schedule, notching a big win at NC State; they also have good wins against Providence and Dayton, and losing to Oklahoma State by five is not the worst thing in the world. However, while losing to Connecticut and Nebraska is not uncommon, losing to UConn by 42 and Nebraska by 44 is not so good. The season sweep by Hartford also includes an ugly 38-36 game that I suspect the America East would like to pretend never happened.

As an aside, UVM has a great website, and Helen over at the Women's Hoops Blog has kvelled about the work they've done to keep people connected to the team.