By Greg Laudani, Staff Writer
It takes most athletes some time to adjust from high school to college.
Carlie Pogue has made a seamless transition. On Feb. 23, Pogue captured her fourth America East Rookie of the Week award to build on her outstanding first season in a Wildcat uniform.
Pogue has helped fill the void left after UNH starting center Corinne Coia, the team’s most potent post player last season, went down for the year after suffering an ACL injury during the first day of practice. Coia ranked second on the team in 2013-14 with 11.8 points per game as the Wildcats go-to player in the paint.
It did not take long for UNH to find its answer at the center position. Pogue is averaging 7.5 ppg while appearing in all 27 games for the Wildcats.
“The support of the coaches and the team has been a huge part of my success this season,” Pogue said. “They really believe in me and that has helped me gain a lot of confidence in my game.”
UNH head coach Maureen Magarity praised Pogue while looking back on the freshman’s success this season.
“As a freshman, we have relied on her a lot this year and I’m so proud of how she has handled the pressure,” Magarity said. “When Corinne went out at the beginning of the preseason with the season-ending injury, we really looked to Carlie to help pick up the scoring and rebounding void, and she has done a tremendous job.”
Pogue is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and played for Princeton High School in New Jersey. Not only was coming to UNH an adjustment on the court, it also took Pogue some time to adjust to life away from home.
“The transition was hard at first, because I was so far away from home and my family,” Pogue said. “The team is like a family and that has really helped. Now I love it here.”
Pogue’s game includes a brilliant mix of inside scoring and tenacious rebounding, Magarity said. While averaging double-digit scoring totals in her last 16 games, Pogue ranks fourth on the team in rebounds per game with 4.6 per game.
“I think Carlie’s touch around the basket and her ability to rebound both offensively and defensively has helped her this season,” Magarity said. “She is relentless on the boards, especially on the offensive end.”
It is clear that Pogue has earned the trust of her coaching staff, as the center logged a season-high 34 minutes at UMass Lowell on Feb. 21. Her increasing minutes reflect the confidence Magarity and her staff has in putting the ball in Pogue’s hands.
“Carlie has been instrumental in our success this year, whether as a starter or coming off the bench,” Magarity said. “She has given us a much needed scoring list and rebounding presence inside.”
Magarity said the sky is the limit for Pogue.
“It is exciting to think about how good Carlie can be by the end of her career here, I’m so proud of how she has handled this year both on the court and in the classroom,” Magarity said. “I think the sky’s the limit for her, she could be a very special player here at UNH.”
Pogue said her main career goal is to help her team make it to the NCAA Tournament “as many times as possible” and to become the “best player I can be” to help the Wildcats achieve that goal.
With the America East tournament on the horizon, Pogue and the Wildcats have a chance to do some damage. The freshman said she is excited for the task at hand.
“I’m super excited for my first America East playoffs and I hope to achieve our goal of winning it all and making it to the NCAA Tournament,” Pogue said.
UNH will likely split playing time between Pogue and Kaylee Kilpatrick as it has done throughout most of the season. Both players have helped the Wildcats establish their reliable post play. Magarity said she is excited about what Kilpatrick and Pogue can do for UNH this postseason.
“I think the combo of both Carlie and Kaylee in the post headed into the playoffs is a tough matchup for opponents,” Magarity said. “I’m excited to see how Carlie will respond to her first America East tournament.”