Coming home

Maddy Springfield

She’s a senior now, finishing out a stellar career at Bentley University, one of the flagship women’s basketball institutions in Division II.

Maddy Springfield, the one-time Conant High star and the Miss N.H. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015, will return home one more time to play before family and friends. Bentley visits Franklin Pierce University Saturday at 1:30 p.m., bringing Springfield to the court where so many childhood memories reside.

The FPU Fieldhouse is where her father, David Springfield, starred as a sharpshooting guard with the Ravens a generation before her. Siblings Brooke, Devin and Peyton are also familiar with the aging gym along with her aunt, Karen Belletete, who played at Franklin Pierce.

Bentley is Division II royalty and Springfield, a native of Jaffrey, has said it’s a perfect fit for her. She is majoring in information design and corporate communications at one of the nation’s premier business schools.

The Falcons, who won the national championship under legendary coach Barbara Stevens in 2014, are 6-3 this season, 2-0 in the Northeast-10. They’ve been tested with a rugged non-conference schedule and have won four of their last five.

Able to play both guard and forward, Springfield has been mostly coming off the bench this season, averaging 7.3 points per game and 2.1 assists.

“As a coach, as the years go on and you see all the changes and when so much of the focus is on individual play, I truly appreciate someone like Maddy,” Stevens told The Sentinel last year. “Everybody loves Maddy.”

Stevens is the winningest coach in Division II and in 2018 joined the late Pat Summit of Tennessee, Tara VanDerveer of Stanford, Geno Auriemma of UConn and Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina as the only coaches with 1,000 career wins.

“Honestly, it’s hard to put into words what it’s like” playing for Stevens, Springfield said last year. “Every practice, every film session, every conversation you’re so invested in what she’s saying. She guides us, and she helps us build on what we’re good at, and she puts in ur minds that perfection can be a goal.”

One of the highlights of Springfield’s college career took place last month in the third game of the season when she came off the bench to score a personal-high 23 points to lead Bentley to a come-from-behind 65-62 victory over Florida Southern in Lakeland.

Springfield hit the game-winning shot with 5.9 seconds left, burying a 3-pointer from about three feet beyond the arc to break a 62-62 tie. Her previous high for a game was 15 points. She made 7 of 9 shots in that game and was 4 of 6 from the 3-point line.

Bentley this afternoon will face a FPU team that’s 3-4 under Coach Mark Swasey, who returns to Rindge after coach the Ravens from 2002 to 2009. Junior Sophia Holmes leads the team in scoring with a 16.6 ppg average, followed by sophomore Izzy Lipinski (13.4 ppg).

The women’s game is the opener of a Bentley-FPU double-header Saturday that includes the men tipping off at 3:30 p.m.