College Basketball Preview

November 14, 1997|By Brant James Loyola at a glance

Coppin State at a glance

Coach: Britt King, first season

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

1996-97 record: 7-20 overall, 7-11 MEAC

Radio: Undecided

Arena: Coppin Center

Starters lost: Two

Tickets: $5 general admission, $3 children

Best home game: Defending MEAC champion Howard, Feb. 9

Best visiting player: Howard's Alisha Hill, the league preseason Player of Year after averaging 17.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season.

Outlook: Coppin State enters another phase this season, having lost one of its best-ever players, second-team All-MEAC guard Lisa Briggs, and having to adapt to new head coach Britt King, who replaces five-year coach Tori Harrison. Junior Trisha Allen, who came to Coppin with King from the University of the District of Columbia, will be counted on to provide instant scoring. Allen averaged 18.1 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Firebirds last season. Junior guard Alicia Ritchie averaged 29 minutes per game last season, but just 3.6 points and a team-leading 2.5 assists, and will also be expected to provide more offense, as will fellow guard Liani Adair (3.1 ppg). King, who was 64-57 with the Firebirds, took the Coppin State job after UDC eliminated athletics in a cost-cutting measure. After one losing season at UDC, she crafted four consecutive winning years, including a 20-6 season that won her the Black Coaches magazine's Coach of the Year award.

Around the league: Expect Howard to again control the league, with some pressure in the tournament coming from Florida A&M.

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Returning players

Name, Year, Ht, Pos, Fast breaks

Celena Falline, Senior, 5-9, G/F, Top returning scorer (8.2 ppg)

Alicia Ritchie, Junior, 5-4, G, Started every game in '96-97

Ayesha Dockery, Sophomore, 5-11, F, Second-team MEAC All-Rookie

Simone Adams, Sophomore, 6-1, F, Led team with 20 blocked shots

Kristi Webb, Sophomore, 5-10, F, 11 points, 12 rebounds at Bethune-Cookman

Liani Adair, Senior, 5-8, F, Three-year letterman

Liesha Mitchell, Sophomore, 5-11, G, Prop 48 playing in first season

Michelle Duncan, Junior, 5-4, G, '95-96 second-team MEAC All-Rookie

Danielle Scott, Junior, 5-6, G, Two-year letterman

Newcomers Trisha Allen, Junior, 5-9, G, Transfer from District of Columbia

Javonti Jones, Freshman, 5-8, G, Largo High product

Charron Beckham, Junior, 5-2, G, Walk-on Coach: Pat Coyle (76-67), sixth season

Affiliation: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

1996-97 record: 9-19 overall, 5-9 in MAAC

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM) for games Nov. 19 (at Maryland), Dec. 22 (Towson), Jan. 16 (at Rider)

Arena: Reitz Arena (3,000)

Starters lost: One

Tickets: $4. Call 410-617-5014.

Best home game: Siena, Jan. 14. The Saints are the preseason favorite to win the conference.

Best visiting player: Melanie Halker, Siena. The 6-foot-1 junior forward averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds last season and is a preseason first-team all-conference pick.

Outlook: The Greyhounds are hoping the adversity of last season will make them stronger. Loyola was touted as one of the top teams in the conference last season, but a plethora of injuries dashed any postseason aspirations and the Greyhounds finished fifth in the MAAC. Coyle plans to continue with a three-guard alignment, but if she chooses to go with a bigger lineup, the Greyhounds could present serious matchup problems for the rest of the MAAC. At 6-1 and 6-2, respectively, Susan Bryce and Erica Rath would be the biggest small forwards in the league. In addition to four returning starters, Loyola also has sophomore guard/forward Jennifer Bongard back. Bongard started all 28 games as a freshman, but was redshirted last season because of chronic leg pain.

Around the league: The Greyhounds, along with Siena and St. Peter's, are the projected top teams in a conference that appears to be wide open.

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Returning players

Name, Year, Ht, Pos, Fast breaks

Jennifer Bongard, Sophomore, 6-0, G/F, Redshirt averaged 9.8 ppg as freshman

Susan Bryce, Senior, 6-1, F, Played on 1994-95 NCAA Tournament team

Theresa Cooney, Junior, 5-6, G, Started 16 games last season

Mary Anne Kirsch, Junior, 6-1, C, Averaged 19 ppg, 9 rpg in postseason

Julie Mesaros, Sophomore, 5-7, G, One of MAAC's fastest players

Jina Mosley, Junior, 6-0, G/F, Athletic slasher is tough to guard one-on-one

Catey Peters, Sophomore, 6-1, F/C, Solid rebounder with nice touch

Newcomers Shannon Cohen, Freshman, 5-6, G, Mercy standout could contribute immediately

Diana Keeney, Freshman, 6-0, F, Physical in the paint

Desiree Peterkin, Freshman, 6-0, G, Made 36 straight free throws in high school

Erica Rath, Freshman, 6-2, F, Potential inside/outside threat

Sherika Wilson, Freshman, 6-3, C, Averaged 5.3 blocks for high school career

Kevin Eck

UMES at a glance

Coach: Joyce Jenkins (20-62), fourth season

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

1996-97 record: 13-15 overall, 12-8 MEAC

Radio: Undecided

Arena: Tawes Gym

Starters lost: One

Tickets: $6 general admission

Best home game: Defending MEAC champion Howard, Dec. 11

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