Women's College Basketball Preview

November 09, 2007|By BILL FREE

STATE DIVISION I

COPPIN STATE

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Coach: Derek Brown, eighth season (134-94)

2006-07 record: 25-8 (18-0, first-place MEAC)

Arena: Coppin Center (1,720)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Coppin State

Starters lost: Two

Outlook: With MEAC Player of the Year Rashida Suber among three returning starters for the Eagles, this looks like another league championship and possible NCAA tournament team for Brown. Suber, a senior guard, led Coppin in scoring last season with an 18.9 average. She also averaged 3.8 rebounds in a school-record 25-win season. There are nine letter winners back for this flourishing program, which has posted two straight 18-0 regular-season MEAC championship records. Coppin became the first team last season in MEAC women's basketball history to win a postseason game when the Eagles defeated St. Joseph's in the opening round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Suber, a preseason favorite for another league Player of the Year honor, teams with fellow senior Shalamar Oakley to form the top backcourt in the MEAC. Oakley was a first-team All-MEAC choice last season, averaging 12.6 points and 3.4 rebounds. Junior center Tanezia Harden is the third starter returning, and she anchors the inside game with averages of 8.1 points and 5.2 rebounds last season. Highly regarded freshman Arielle Townes from Joppatowne High in Harford County is one of four newcomers.

LOYOLA

Affiliation: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Coach: Joe Logan, third season (38-22)

2006-07 record: 18-12 (12-6 MAAC)

Arena: Reitz (3,253)

Consensus MAAC favorite: Marist

Consensus Loyola prediction: Fourth

Starters lost: Four

Outlook: After losing nine players to graduation over the past two seasons, Logan will send a rather perfect blend of experience and youth on the court this season. Much of the offense will focus on senior center Vika Sholokhova, 6-foot-3, who was chosen MAAC Sixth Player of the Year and selected to the All-MAAC third team after transferring from Pittsburgh in time to play 19 games. She averaged 11.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in those 19 games. Fellow senior Meghan Wood averaged 8.8 points and 6.6 rebounds last season and is expected to join Sholokhova as the other featured offensive player for the Greyhounds. Two other top players for Logan are freshmen Candice Walker (Towson Catholic) and Meredith Tolley from Urbana in Frederick County. Walker, a point guard, was a second-team choice last year on the Sun All-Metro team. Tolley is a post player.

MORGAN STATE

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Coach: Donald Beasley, third season (23-36)

2006-07 record: 18-13 (11-7 MEAC)

Arena: Hill Field House (4,250)

Consensus MEAC favorite: Coppin State

Consensus Morgan State prediction: Fourth

Starters lost: Two

Outlook: From afar, it may not have looked like Beasley ran the table last season in his second year as Morgan coach. But all he did was transform the women's basketball program from a perennial 10th and 11th place MEAC team into a sudden championship contender, win league Coach of the Year honors, guide the Bears to a school record for wins (18) at the Division I level, beat an Ivy League school (Cornell) for the first time on the road, finish fourth in the MEAC and advance to the program's third appearance in the league championship game. To top it all off, Morgan pulled off the final and sweetest feat for the school by upsetting rival Coppin State in the MEAC tournament semifinals, ending the Eagles' 49-game winning streak against MEAC opponents. Sophomore point guard Corin Adams will lead a charge of high expectations this season, coming off team-leading performances in scoring (13.4), assists (2.9), steals (2.6) and total blocks (17). Adams was also second on the team in rebounds (4.8).

MOUNT ST. MARY'S

Affiliation: Northeast Conference

Coach: Bryan Whitten, first season

2006-07 record: 12-17 (10-8 NEC)

Arena: Knott (3,129)

Consensus NEC favorite: Long Island

Consensus Mount prediction: Eighth

Starters lost: Three

Outlook: Senior Tiffany Green and junior Brianna Gauthier, both guards, will be the keys to success for new coach Bryan Whitten this season as he takes over a Division I program after recording a 220-103 mark in 12 seasons at D-III Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Green needs 109 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau, after averaging 9.4 points and 2.9 rebounds last season and handing out a career-high 105 assists. Gauthier had a strong sophomore season, averaging 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while contributing 94 assists. Several highly regarded freshmen have entered the program, giving Whitten some high hopes. "They can't play like freshmen for long because they are going to be getting upper-class minutes," Whitten said. "They are going to get the opportunity to play a lot and right away."

NAVY

Affiliation: Patriot League

Coach: Tom Marryott, fifth season (50-66)

2006-07 record: 12-17 (6-8 Patriot League)

Arena: Alumni Hall (5,710)

Consensus Patriot favorite: Bucknell

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