2008-09 women's preview
November 13, 2008Boston College
Last season: 21-12 (7-7, tied for fifth in ACC).
Coach: Sylvia Crawley (first season).
Starting five: G Victoria Jones (1.4 ppg), G Mickel Picco (9.5), G Corey Rusin (2.9), F Stefanie Murphy (14.5), C Carolyn Swords (13.7).
Key reserves: G Brittanny Johnson (6.6), G/F Ayla Brown (7.3), G Jaclyn Thoman (4.3).
Outlook: The Eagles return a majority of their roster, including six sophomores. Crawley is encouraging her players to be more versatile this season and run a more up-tempo game. Point guard will be handled by committee.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE OUTLOOK
1. North Carolina: Rashanda McCants (15.8 ppg) leads three starters returning to the nation's highest-scoring team last season (86.3).
2. Maryland: Guard Kristi Toliver is a preseason All-American and is three assists shy of the school record (584).
3. Duke: The Blue Devils return 91.2 percent of the rebounding, led by center Chante Black (7.1).
4. Virginia: Monica Wright (17.6) is the top returning scorer and was a second-team All-ACC choice last season.
5. Florida State: A recruiting class ranked among the nation's top 10 will provide depth.
6. Georgia Tech: Three starters are back, led by Jacqua Williams (118 steals last season).
7. Boston College: Expect a faster pace under new coach Sylvia Crawley.
8. North Carolina State: The Wolfpack bring back four starters from a team that reached the WNIT Final Four.
9. Clemson: The Tigers welcome back guards Tasha Taylor and Bryelle Smith, who both suffered season-ending knee injuries last year.
10. Virginia Tech: The Hokies are looking to get back to the postseason after missing for the first time since 1996-97.
11. Miami: Three starters need to be replaced from last season's 9-21 team.
12. Wake Forest: Alex Tchangoue (11.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg) anchors the wing.
Last season: 20-12 (11-5, third in America East).
Coach: Kelly Greenberg (fifth season).
Starting five: G Christine Kinneary (8.5 ppg), G Kristi Dini (4.4), G Amarachi Umez-Eronini (8.4), F Jesyka Burks-Wiley (13.2), F Kerry Cashman (1.2).
Key reserves: G Kat Briggs (0.9), F Aly Hinton (8.4), G Alex Young (freshman), F Caroline Stewart (freshman), F Maggie McKemie (transfer Furman).
Outlook: The Terriers lost two of their top three scorers, forward Kasey Devine and guard Cheri Raffo, a 1,000-point scorer, to graduation. After sitting out a season, McKemie, a junior, joins a roster that includes four freshmen. The Terriers led the league last season with 69.4 points per game and a 76.9 free throw percentage.
AMERICA EAST OUTLOOK
1. Vermont: Key returners include junior guards Courtnay Pilypaitis, the league's player of the year, and May Kotsopoulos, the league's defender of the year.
2. Hartford: The defending league champs will have to overcome the graduation of forward Danielle Hood (15.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg).
3. Boston University: Senior Jesyka Burks-Wiley was an all-conference second-team pick last season, when she started all 32 games.
4. Albany: The youth rolls in with five freshmen, four of whom are at least 6 feet.
5. Maryland-Baltimore County: The Retrievers' Carlee Cassidy (17.0) was the league's top scorer last season.
6. Binghamton: Center Laura Franceski (9.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 bpg) leads a defense that held opponents to 39.5 percent from the field last season.
7. New Hampshire: The Wildcats return two-thirds of their 58.4 ppg average last season.
8. Maine: Four starters return from a 7-23 squad.
9. Stony Brook: Sophomore point guard Misha Horsey runs a team with no seniors.
Last season: 18-11 (11-3, tied for first in Ivy League).
Coach: Kathy Delaney-Smith (27th season).
Starting five: G Brogan Berry (freshman), G Niki Finelli (8.7 ppg), G Emily Tay (10.
, F Emma Markley (4.
, F Katie Rollins (11.4).
Key reserves: F Emma Moretzsohn (4.0), G Jackie Alemany (1.1), F Claire Wheeler (1.1).
Outlook: The frontcourt should be among the Crimson's strengths as four players stand 6 feet 2 inches or taller - senior Moretzsohn towers over them all at 6-7. When it comes to experience, Rollins leads the bunch, starting 56 of 57 career games. She was Harvard's leading scorer and No. 2 rebounder (4.4) last season. Sophomores Markley and Wheeler should contribute more.
IVY LEAGUE OUTLOOK
1. Harvard: Senior guard Emily Tay was second in the league in assists (143) last season.
2. Dartmouth: The Big Green should be a contender with guards like Koren Schram (11.4 ppg), who led the league with 70 3-pointers.
3. Cornell: The Big Red must make up for the loss of Jeomi Maduka, last season's Ivy player of the year, who gave up basketball for track and field, after leading Cornell to its first NCAA Tournament berth.
4. Yale: Leading scorers Melissa Colborne (15.7 ppg) and Jamie Van Horne (9.1) lead the backcourt.
5. Columbia: Guard Danielle Browne (10.0 ppg) leads four returning starters from a seven-win Ivy season, a school best.
6. Penn: Four starters and top six scorers return.
7. Princeton: Second-year coach Courtney Banghart leads a group that went 7-23 last season.
8. Brown: The Bears won just two games last season, but have a decorated recruiting class to support four returning starters.
Last season: 19-13 (10-4, second in Patriot League).
Coach: Bill Gibbons (24th season).
Starting five: G Briana McFadden (13.5 ppg), G Meredith Ward (freshman), G Bethany O'Dell (11.4), G/F Whitney Fremeau (1.7), C Kathy Gruzynski (4.5).
Key reserves: F Elizabeth Campbell (6.5), G/F Alyssa May (3.5), G/F Tayana Carper (3.5).
Outlook: Holy Cross just missed out on the league title last season but the Crusaders bring back a wealth of experience, including junior guard McFadden, the league's player of the year. McFadden converted a league-best 81 percent of her free throws. Holy Cross owned the league's best percentage from 3-point range (.338), led by O'Dell's 38 percent marksmanship.
PATRIOT LEAGUE OUTLOOK
1. Holy Cross: If the frontcourt can match the production of the backcourt, the Crusaders could go far.
2. Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks allowed just 52.9 points per game last season, fifth best in the nation.
3. American: Three starters graduated from a team that was undefeated on the road.
4. Army: Guard Alex McGuire (11.8 ppg), the only active player in the league with 1,000 career points, is back for her senior season.
5. Bucknell: The Bison became the first No. 5 seed to win the Patriot League tournament last season.
6. Lafayette: Eleven players return from a 14-win team, but the league's leading scorer, Vanessa Van De Venter, isn't one of them.
7. Navy: Former Bowdoin coach Stefanie Pemper takes over a team coming off a 7-23 record.
8. Colgate: The Raiders return four starters from a 1-29 team, but the leading scorer, Sami Kozlowski, averaged just 9.3 ppg.
Last season: 14-16 (8-10, sixth in Colonial Athletic).
Coach: Daynia La-Force Mann (third season).
Starting five: G Jamie Conroy (freshman), G Jasmine Crew (8.2 ppg), G Ashlee Feldman (8.6), F Kendra Walton (9.9), F Kim Carr (5.9).
Key reserves: G Brittany Wilson (freshman), G Kashaia Cannon (freshman), F Tiffany Crews (1.4), F Mia Mayberry (0.6), F Chanez Robinson (freshman).
Outlook: After going just 4-26 in 2006-07, Northeastern surged to 14-16 last season, the fourth-best turnaround in the nation. The Huskies will look to senior Feldman to lead a backcourt that graduated three players. She played in all 30 games last season and shot 34 percent from 3-point range.
COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
1. Old Dominion: Forward Tiffany Green (11.4 ppg) and point guard Jazzmin Walters (7.5) are the only returning starters for the Monarchs, who own an NCAA-record 17 straight conference titles.
2. Virginia Commonwealth: Senior center Quanitra Hollingsworth (13.3 ppg) is expected to lead after missing the end of last season with an Achilles' injury.
3. James Madison: The Dukes must replace three starters from last season's 24-win squad.
4. Drexel: Eight players are back, including forward Gabriela Marginean (19.0 ppg), the preseason CAA player of the year.
5. Towson: Last year's team notched a school-record 22 wins.
6. UNC Wilmington: Brittany Blackwell was CAA rookie of the year with a team-leading 14.4 ppg and 7.7 rpg.
7. Delaware: The Blue Hens are looking to rebound from a seven-win season.
8. Georgia State: Guard Brittany Hollins (13.2 ppg) is the only player among nine letter-winners to have played all four years with the Panthers.
9. Northeastern: Eight freshmen join the team.
10. William & Mary: Guard Courtney Portell drained a school-record 72 treys last season.
11. Hofstra: The anticipated return of center Jess Fuller (stress fracture in leg) should energize the team.
12. George Mason: First-year coach Jeri Porter welcomes seven newcomers after a 9-21 season.