Aliza Simpson, a 5-foot-9-inch guard who is the all-time assist leader at Londonderry High, has signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball program next season.
“The coaching staff (at UNH) and the chance to play in my home state in front of my family and friends were the two biggest reasons I chose to play for UNH,” said Simpson, who has over 450 assists entering her senior season at Londonderry.
UNH coach Maureen Magarity knows she’s getting an all-around player who not only can score, but distribute the ball as well.
“Aliza is an outstanding point guard who makes everyone else around her better,” Magarity said. “She is one of the best passers I have seen and is always trying to put teammates in a position to score. Aliza really likes to get out and push the ball and makes excellent decisions in transition.”
Simpson said meeting Magarity and the coaching staff made her feel wanted and comfortable.
“Playing basketball needs to be fun for me and after meeting with coach Magarity, I felt relaxed and part of a family atmosphere,” said Simpson.
Timing is in Simpson’s favor as she will be replacing senior co-captain Kelsey Hogan of Nashua. Hogan, a point guard, is averaging 12 points this season for the Wildcats.
Simpson said Hogan’s departure means she’ll be able to fill the vacant point guard position. Simpson enters her senior year at Londonderry averaging 17 points, 9.5 assists, 5.5 steals and six rebounds a game.
“I’m more concerned about the assists than I am scoring,” said Simpson. “A point guard is a playmaker and I always look to get my teammates involved in the offense.”
Simpson, currently playing for coach John Fagula at LHS, has played AAU ball for the New England Crusaders.
She’s a two-time (2012-13) New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization first team selection who has led the Lancers to the NHIAA Division I final four the last two seasons. Playing for the Crusaders, Simpson was a New Hampshire AAU state champion with the U16 team. Now she hopes to end her high school career with a Division I title at Londonderry.
“Planning for college and trying to choose the right school is stressful at times,” said Simpson. “Now that it’s over, I can focus on my senior year at Londonderry.”
Simpson said she whittled her choices down to UNH and Rhode Island.
“My parents have attended just about every game I’ve ever played and to be able to play close to home with them in the stands is something I considered to be important to me,” said Simpson. “I’m totally happy with my decision.”