2020-21 Atlantic 10 preview: 'The joy of kids playing basketball'

Looking ahead to the 2020 season

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While so much has changed in 2020, one thing remains the same: 14 teams are hungry and ready to compete for the Atlantic 10 title. Here’s the breakdown of what each team is going to look like this season.

Davidson

Place (last year): 7th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Katie Turner 5’7”: 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game

G Suzi-Rose Deegan 5’10”: 15.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game

G/F Sarah Donovan 6’0”: 11.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game (in 12 games)

G Chloe Welch 5’9”: 8.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

F Ally Welling 6’3”: 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds

Newcomers:

G/F Sallie Schutz 6’2”: Four time all-state and all-region. Averaged 24.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game as a senior.McDonald’s All-American nominee. Also lettered in softball.

Head coach: Gayle Fulks, 4th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“I hope that we can be a little steadier. I felt like last year was kind of the tale of two halves of conference play in which we started out playing pretty well and kind of towards the end were much more inconsistent. And I think some of that with our youth, so just being able to stay steady or more consistent throughout the whole conference season.”

“I think we're really balanced and versatile. I think that we've got a whole team full of people ready to contribute.”

Dayton

Place (last year): 1st

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Jenna Giacone 6’1”: 6.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game

G Araion Bradshaw 5’6”: 5.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game

F Kyla Whitehead 6’2”: 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

G/F Erin Whalen 6’1”: 12.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G Jayla Scaife 5’10”: 13.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game

F Julia Chandler 6’2”: 5.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.7 blocks per game

G Shakeela Fowler 5’6”: 8.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.1 steals per game

Newcomers:

G Makira Cook 5’6”: Led team to two state championships. Ranked No. 82 player by Prospect Nation. Earned Defensive Player of the Year honors three times.

G Capria Brown 5’9”: Ranked No. 61 in the nation by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. Earned First Team All-State honors all four years. Led her team to two state championships. Averaged 19.1 points per game over her career.

G Anna LeMaster 5’9”: Earned All-Conference honors the past three seasons. Scored her 1,000th point as a junior. Set school record for three pointers in a season.

G Bailee Adkins 5’7”: Led her team to state championship twice. Three year letterwinner. Named All-Tri State team twice.

C Tenin Magassa 6’5”: Third-leading scorer for U18 French National team that won the bronze medal at the European Championships. Competed at the 2017 U16 European Championships where France earned the bronze medal.

F Nadjy Tyler 6’3”: Averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks as a senior. Received a medical redshirt for the 2019-2020 season.

G Destiny Bohanon 5’10”: Named GWOC National East Player of the Year. Named First Team All-Ohio. Averaged 14.7 points, 4.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game. Received a medical redshirt for the 2019-2020 season.

G/F Maliya Perry 6’0”: Transferred from Auburn University after one semester. Led her team to a state championship in 2019 and runner-up finish in 2019.

Head coach: Shauna Green, 5th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“I want us to take what we learned last year and learn from it. We had a really tough non-conference schedule where we lost some tight games early. I want us to be able to win those this year. with only 7 non conference games this season it will be critical to not let any opportunities slip by.”

“This is a unique team because we are either very old or very young. Half of our team has not played in a college game but we also have three 5th year seniors.”

Duquesne

Place (last year): 6th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Libby Bazelak 5’9”: 13.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game

G Amanda Kalin 5’8”: 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game

C Laia Sole 6’2”: 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G/F Paige Cannon 6’1”: 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals per game

F Angelina Staffileno 6’2”: 4.1 points, 2.4 rebounds per game

Newcomers:

G Megan McConnell 5’7”: Four-time Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Selection. Averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game as a senior. Finished high school career with 1,521 points.

C Lindsey Linard 6’4”: Named Greater Cleveland Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

Averaged 12.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.8 blocks and 2.2 steals per game as a senior.

G Tess Myers 5’9”: Three-time Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class 4A All-State. Averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, while shooting 48 percent from inside the arc and 75 percent from the free throw line as a senior. Totaled 1,628 career points and 564 rebounds.

F Snezhe Serafimoska 6’4”: Member of the Macedonian Senior National Team. Selected to the 2018 Under Armour All-American Game. Sat out the 2019-2020 season as a redshirt.

Head coach: Dan Burt, 8th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“What am I looking forward to? I've already experienced it in practices, the joy of the kids playing basketball more than anything. They're such a happy positive group of really good people off the court and on the court. We've had that in the past, but what I've seen out of this group, is the level of competitiveness has risen. And that's probably the thing I'm looking most forward to as we go into games is how that level of competitiveness amongst ourselves translates on the floor.”

“We're an old team, we're an experienced team. We're a team that lost four games on buzzer beaters last year. And we feel like we have a lot to show this year.”

Fordham

Place (last year): 3rd

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

F Kaitlyn Downey 6’1”: 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game

G Anna DeWolfe 5’8”: 12.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game

G Kendell Heremaia 5’9”: 11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

Gaitley told The Next that Bryson Cavanaugh is no longer with the team. On October 7, he posted this on Instagram:

A post shared by @cavanaugh10
October 8, 2020

Cavanaugh, who graduated in the Spring, averaged 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

Newcomers:

G Matilda Flood 5’9”

G Megan Bodziony 5’10”

G Baylee Teal 5’6”

G Riley DeRubbo 5’8”

F Maranda Nyborg 6’3”

Head coach: Stephanie Gaitley, 10th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“I mean our best player didn't return in [Bryson] Cavanaugh and so we just have to realize that different people have to kind of pick up some of the scoring and some of the statistics, we lost with [Bryson's] departure and so on. I think our kids are looking forward to the challenge of trying to get them to gel accordingly and it's a work in progress and again like I said [we've been] practicing [for] less than a week now [as of Oct. 20] so it's just gonna take us some time to get to the point that we want to be.”

“Obviously covid has created adversity. And I really think that the true character of a person is defined through adversity. So one thing that we had said to the kids early on when, when we started obviously everybody started getting into the zoom world was what was the best team is the team that wins the wait. The wait of of waiting to get back. Who's going to be the ones that are going to get in shape and do all the things necessary to be ready when we do get back. So facing adversity, losing [Bryson], we've had two kids that have gone down with injuries this year and so adversity is part of the challenge but, you know, challenges change you and it's important to understand when you face a challenge you've got to use it to change you. And so we've certainly seen our share of challenges early on and I'd like to think we have kids that are super competitive and that want to kind of hit that challenge face on and attack it, be a really successful team.”

George Mason

Place (last year): 13th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Marika Korpinen 5’9”: 5.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game

F Camarie Gatling 6’0”: 8.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.7 blocks per game

F Tamia Lawhorne 6’0”: 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G/F Jacy Bolton 6’0”: 8.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals per game

G Nicole Cardaño-Hillary 5’7”: 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.2 steals per game (set program scoring record, 1,766 points)

Newcomers:

F Vanessa Laumbach 6’0”: Four-year letterwinner in basketball at Woodbridge Senior High School. Averaged 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game during the 2018-2019 season.

G Teodora Popovic 5’8”: Played for Novosadska ŽKA in the first women’s basketball league of Serbia. Averaged 11 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Represented Serbia in the 2017 FIBA U16 European Championships.

G Taylor Jameson 5’6”: Four-year varsity letter winner. Averaged 14 points and 6.0 assists as a senior. Named First Team All-GWAL.

G Rachel Balzer 5’10”: Four-year letter winner in basketball. Tallied 1,092 career points. Redshirted during the 2019-2020 season.

G Milica Manojlovic 5’7”: Played in 61 games in two seasons at Furman. Averaged 7.2 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game last season.

F Daijah Jefferson 6’2”: Played in 44 games in two seasons at Georgia Tech. Two-time ACC Academic Honor Roll selection.

Head coach: Nyla Milleson, 8th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“I think a couple of focuses really are: Number one is to really celebrate the success of others, really trying to share the basketball, to develop more than one or two scorers we really relied on a couple of people to carry us from a scoring load so we're hoping to have a little bit more balance on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively I think we're more athletic, have better overall team speed. So maybe just being able to ramp up those motors and keep our energy at a high level, to be able to use that athleticism. And then again, just develop that that sense of chemistry on the floor we've always had pretty good chemistry off the floor and get along and those sort of things and it's not that we didn't get along on the floor but I think last year the injuries and the illnesses and not getting Vita (Stam) eligible until late, we just were never really able to develop any consistent chemistry on the floor. So we're hoping [to] stay healthy and maybe that will develop a little bit better this year.”

“[On what she is excited about this season] I think most importantly is just the opportunity that maybe even two months ago seemed like maybe wasn't going to be a reality. And to be able to step on the floor at a time when we thought maybe this season was gonna be lost, and it still might be. But I know what this team has been through. Not only the frustration from last year and so anxious and hungry to get back on the floor and then that was taken away from us. But the work they put in this summer, although it [is a] different type of work. I'm just hoping for that opportunity and excited for this group to prove what they can do. Every year brings something a little bit different. And I think somebody said the other day I think we've lost 60 percent of our scoring from last year so that challenge of putting people in different roles a challenge of getting people to maybe play a little bit different than what they're used to, that's what coaching is all about is trying to put people in the best places for them to be successful in order for your team to be successful.”

GW

Place (last year): 8th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

F Mayowa Taiwo 6’0”: 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game

F Neila Luma 6’0”: 5.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game (5 games)

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

C Kayla Mokwuah 6’4”: 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.9 blocks per game

F Alexandra Maund 5’11”: 11.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists per game

G Tori Hyduke 5’6”: 9.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game

Newcomers:

G Gabby Nikitinaite 5’11”: Played three seasons at Northern Illinois and averaged 8.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

G Jasmine Whitney 5’9”: Appeared in 91 games, starting 75 at Pittsburgh. Led the Panthers in assists for three straight years and finished ninth in program history. At the time of her departure, she was the only active player in the ACC to record 100+ assist in three straight seasons.

C Ali Brigham 6’4”: Finished high school with 1,692 points and 1,276 rebounds. Averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior. Father Bill also played basketball at GW.

G Aurea Gingras 5’8”: Two-time first team all-conference. All-WCAC honorable mention.

G Piper Macke 5’7”: Averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals over her final three seasons. Led her team to four straight District Championships. Started at point guard for Kentucky Royals AAU and averaged 10.5 points, 7.8 assists and 4.2 steals per game.

F Caranda Perea 6’2”: Scored more than 1,000 points in high school. As a senior she led the Central Pennsylvania region with 62 blocks during the regular season. Won the 2016 AAU Division I National Championship.

Head coach: Jennifer Rizzotti, 5th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“We had a lot of talent last year and we had a lot of depth, but we never had like consistent groups throughout the season, some of that was due to injury, and some of that was just due to, me giving a lot of opportunity to different players throughout the course of the year. I'd like to be able to focus a little bit harder on a core group, and some defined roles better, and just have a better consistency that how we sub and how we play and what the results are. I thought we were really up and down to you know be one of the best teams in the league on one day at least one of the worst teams in the league on that following weekend so I just would like to see our play and our results be a lot more consistent.”

“I think what's been most impressive with this group is is their overall balance like how they've handled themselves since we've returned academically with us going fully remote, how they prepared themselves physically over the summer in difficult circumstances and then I think most importantly emotionally how they've handled a lot of difficult situations that have come up over the last few months. They have been very vocal and involved in social injustices that are going on around the country right now and wanting to utilize their platform to make a difference. And they have had honest conversations about ways that they can be a part of change and making an impact at their age. So I think just the overall maturity ... the selflessness that they have had about life in general and keeping in perspective that although it might be hard for them in their own world right now they really realize, how difficult things have been in life, for a lot of other people and they're willing to give back to their community, they're willing to be involved in the democratic process through voting and they are willing to fight for things that are right and it's just been really impressive, to be a part of, of a group that has stood for all the right things and is about things that are bigger than themselves.”

La Salle

Place (last year): 10th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Amy Jacobs 6’0”: 6.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game

G/F Kayla Spruill 6’0”: 11.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game

G Claire Jacobs 6’0”: 13.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game

F Jordon Lewis 5’10”: 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

F/C Shalina Miller 6’2”: 5.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 blocks per game. Set the program record for blocks (193) and single season block record (80).

Newcomers:

G Jete Nulle 5’6”: Played for Latvian National Team and claimed multiple national titles. Represented Latvia in the European Championships on its U16, U18 and U20 teams. Played on the Latvian U17 and U19 teams in the World Championships.

F Kayla Richardson 5’11”: Scored 1,171 points in highschool. Averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks per game. Claimed the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV State Championship title as a junior.

C Morgan Adams 6’1”: Three-sport athlete in volleyball, basketball and softball. Named a First Team All-Star and YAIAA League Second Team as a senior. Averaged 15.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks as a senior.

C Michelle Kozicki 6’0”: Led the state of Delaware in scoring during her senior season (26.3 points per game). First Team All-State, First Team All-Conference and Blue Gold All-Star as a senior.

G Jaye Haynes 5’8”: Scored 1,440 points in high school. McDonald’s All-American Game Nominee. Participated in the 2018 U17 Olympic Trials.

Head coach: Mountain MacGillivray, 3rd season

Coach’s Perspective:

“I'm hoping that we don't find a way to lose 10 games in a row in the middle of the season. We were really excited [about] our start last year. And, pretty pleased with how we performed later in the season as well. We had a middle stretch that we couldn't get out of our own way. And so we're trying to just find some consistency in our level of performance. And I think with returning the five freshmen from last year, returning our one junior and our two senior point guards and a senior forward. That's a lot of experience returning that we didn't have the year before.”

“I'm excited every day to come in here and get to work with the La Salle women's basketball program. And, for me, it's just seeing it continue to grow. We've been planting seeds, and we're learning things all along. And we saw some good growth last year, we're just looking at, just continue to move it forward. And I like the pieces that are in place, the team is starting to hold themselves more accountable. We're starting to be more player led. And the more that we grow in that area, the better we're gonna be. And I'm just looking forward to seeing it all happen and playing the role that we can play as a staff in that development.”

UMass

Place (last year): 5th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

C/F Maeve Donnelly 6’5”: 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game

F Sam Breen 6’1”: 16.9 points, 9.2 rebounds 1.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game

G Destiney Philoxy 5’7”: 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G Paige McCormick 5’11”: 5.6 points, 3.8 rebounds per game

G Vashnie Perry 5’6”: 8.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game

G/F Hailey Leidel 5’11”: 15.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals per game.

G Bre Hampton-Bey 5’6”: 6.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game

Newcomers:

F Makennah White 6’2”: Won district championships each of her first three seasons. Won a PIAA state title as a junior. Scored her 1,000th point as a junior. Also lettered in volleyball and softball. Mayer

G Ber’Nyah Mayo 5’6”: No. 3 ranked player in Delaware in the 2019-2020 preseason rankings. Delaware All-State First Team. Scored her 1,000th point as a junior.

F Maddie Sims 6’2”: Sat out the 2019-2020 season. Averaged 91 career games in 8.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. All-MAAC Second Team selection as a junior.

Head coach: Tory Verdi, 5th season

Rhode Island

Place (last year): 11th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Marta Vargas 5’9”: 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game (9 games)

C Kassondra Brown 6’2”: 7.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G Erin Jones 6’1”: 10.4 points, 5.0 points, 2.3 assist per game

C Nicole Jorgensen 6’5”: 16.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks per game

G Davida Dale 5’11”: 12.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals per game

Newcomers:

G Yanni Hendly 5’7”: Transfer from University of Virginia with four years of eligibility left. 2019 NACA All-American.

G Johanna Muzet 6’0”: Transfer from Washington State. Won a silver medal in the Espoirs Championship.

G Catherine Cairns 5’7”: Finished as the all-time leading scorer with over 2,000 career points at Saratoga Springs High School. Member of Albany City Rocks club team for three years.

F Mayé Touré 6’2”: Four-time silver medalist in the Espoirs Championship. Finished third representing France at the 2019 U18 3x3 World Cup

Head coach: Tammi Reiss, 2nd season

Coach’s Perspective:

“I think the biggest thing is most of these kids now are our recruits, kids that we actually targeted and recruited to our system and to our culture. I think the biggest struggle last year was walking into a situation where you didn't recruit those kids. And so you, you have to make a lot of adaptations. So I'm so excited about this year of getting the players that we targeted, and we recruited, and finally being able to implement our system, offensively and defensively. And so I'm really excited with what we see right now in practice. And to start the season, that's what excites me most is the ability to finally bring our vision to fruition.”

“I got a bunch of young women that love this game, no matter when we're going through a pandemic, no matter if we have social injustices occurring. This is their escape, they will live in the gym and so all these people are talking about the negative of all we're in a COVID we're in this, we've got this going on in our country, and for us, all of us love being in the gym so much. That's our escape. So from day one. It's been a joy. I've never been happier and people look at me like I'm crazy. Like, you see the times we're in? No, 2e're grateful. We're blessed and we're thankful we all get to live in the gym and be together again and get to compete. So, for me, I see it already. The complete turnaround. And the expectation that we had with these young women is happening so that kind of we see it coming together. And so I couldn't be happier.”

Richmond

Place (last year): 9th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Alex Parson 5’6”: 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game

G Claire Holt 5’8”: 10.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

F Jaide Hinds-Clarke 6’1”: 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.9 steals per game

Newcomers:

G Grace Townsend 5’5”: 1,000 point scorer in high school. As a senior, First Team all State and 6A Region Player of the year. Helped team win the 2019-2020 6A Regional Championship. Lettered four years in basketball and Track & Field. Long Jump record holder at James River High School.

F Addie Budnik 6’2”: As a junior averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks per game. McDonalds All-American nominee. 1,000 point scorer.

G Kylee Lewandowski 6’1”: McDonalds All-American nominee. Averaged 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a junior. Shot 39 percent from three as a junior.

G Siobhan Ryan 6’0”: McDonalds All-American nominee. All-time career scorer Sacred Heart Academy (1,954 points). Also excelled in volleyball with over 1,000 career kills.

F Maya Ettle 6’4”: Averaged 14.7 points per game and led her team to the District 11 Class 2A semifinals. First female from her high school to play D-I basketball. Four-year varsity captain.

Head coach: Aaron Roussell, 2nd year

Coach’s Perspective:

“We won some close games last year, but also dropped some that I think we can chalk up to youth and inexperience. I think with another year of age and more comfort with the intricacies of this offense we can be sharper on the offensive end and better in late-game situations.”

“This team’s work ethic and chemistry has improved immensely; they are a fun group to coach and I think will be a fun group to watch.”

“I just love being around this group and hate that the virus and health factors keep us from doing as much with them off the court than we normally would have liked. I think the personnel of this group will allow us to space the floor very well and hopefully take advantage of some players’ skills around the basket and at the arc.”

St. Bonaventure

Place (last year): 12th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Asianae Johnson 5’8”: 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game

G Deja Francis 5’7”: 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game

F Emily Calabrese 6’0”: 7.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G Dajah Logan 5’11”: 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists per game

Newcomers:

F Star Fitzgerald-Greer 6’3”: Graduate transfer from Howard University. Started 15 of 30 games as a junior. Averaged 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Redshirted her senior season.

F I’yanna Lops 6’3”: Mid-season transfer from Cal State Bakersfield, played in six games averaging 2.8 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8.7 minutes per game. Will be eligible in the second semester of the 2020-2021 season.

G Morgan Gentile 5’11”: Averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists per game in three seasons at Elmira High School. Also a New York Class AA All-State pick in volleyball.

G/F Maddie Dziezgowski 5’10”: Averaged 14.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game as a junior. Was selected to ALl-WPIAL First Team as a junior.

F Mia Kulenovic 6’1”

Claire Cody 5’11”: Redshirt freshman. Limited to one game last season due to injury. Averaged 23 points and 16 rebounds as a senior.

Head coach: Jesse Fleming, 5th season

Coach’s Perspective:

I just think we are going to be a much more fun team to watch. I think we're going to play a lot faster. I think that's what fits our personnel as long as we crank it up defensively. I think I would tell the fans, I know they might not be there but on ESPN+ or whatever you're gonna see a team that's, you know, in my five years, the hardest playing team, most competitive team that I've had here.”

“[On how he hopes his team is able to grow this season] I think, number one is, defensively and rebounding, [if you] kind of do the autopsy on our season last year, we were the worst rebounding team in the league by a big margin. We tried to address that with some personnel additions, but just also really making an emphasis on rebounding and defending as well, because some of our rebounding issues were a result of our inability to guard the ball, and then things like that. So that's really been a focus, and then just just growing as a team that's returned a lot of players to be able to play, offense at a more consistent level, and then sharing it more and having more execution of the stuff we're trying to do, and just increasing the overall understanding offensively so that we can play at an Atlantic 10 pace and execution level.”

Saint Joseph’s

Place (last year): 14th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

F Gabby Smalls 6’2”: 6.7 points and 5.5 points per game

G Kaliah Henderson 5’9”: 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game

G Katie Jekot 5’9”: 10.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

G Nailah Delinois 5’9”: 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 18 minutes per game

G Devyne Newman 5’8”: 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game

Newcomers:

G Alayna Gribble 6’0”: Graduate transfer from the University of Pittsburgh. Missed the majority of the 2018-2019 season and most of the 2019-2020 season due to medical reasons. Moved into the top-10 in made threes as a sophomore.

F Olivia Ramil 6’2”: Graduate transfer from Binghamton University. Averaged 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks per game during the 2019-2020 season.

F Alexis Santarelli 6’1”: Graduate transfer from Lafayette College. Played in 90 games over three seasons. Averaged 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2019-2020 season and added 32 steals, 25 assists and 15 blocks.

G Olivia Mullins 5’8”: Three-year starting point guard. Averaged 10.5 points per game as a senior. Received the RPS Peegan O'Brian Sportsmanship Award.

G Emma Boslet 5’11”: Averaged 16/8 points, 4.9 rebounds 1.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.8 blocks per game as a senior. All-time leading scorer at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School with 1,948 points. McDonald’s All-American Game nominee. Father played collegiate football and mother played collegiate softball.

Head coach: Cindy Griffin, 20th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“We were able to stay connected throughout the summer, through videos, zooms, and we did some book clubs, we read two books. We read The Hard Hat by John Gordon, we read Reach for the Summitt from Pat Summitt. So it was a good way to stay connected and kind of be purposeful during the time of non-physical activity, if you will.”

“From a technical standpoint, we need to be able to score more and put the ball in the basket more. We were second in the league are scoring defense, 18th in the country. But we were certainly not up there with scoring. And so that's an area that we've improved. And we improved by recruiting, we got some fifth year seniors that have had a lot of success, where they've been and we're projecting those student athletes to help fill some voids that we have.”

“I just want us to be in position to improve in every area. So whether it be paying attention to detail, intentional culture, I want our players to experience winning, and what it takes to win and really appreciate that. Because winnings it's hard, and I think at times maybe we have taken it for granted because we're St. Joe's and that's what we do. And so I think we gotta get back to the nuts and bolts and how you get there.”

Saint Louis

Place (last year): 4th

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

F Myriama Smith Traore 6’2”: 4.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game

G Ciaja Harbison 5’6”: 15.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game

G/F Rachel Kent 5’11”: 11.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

F Kendra Wilken 6’2”: A-10 Most Improved Player for the 2019-2020 season. 11.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

Newcomers:

G Marisa Warren 5’8”: Transferred after one season at DePaul. Played in 16 games averaging 7 minutes per game. 2019 St. Louis Post Dispatch All-Metro Player of the Year.

G Natalie McNeal 5’8”: Earned four letters in basketball and two in Track & Field. Two-time All-State first team (junior and senior). All-Conference first team (senior).

F Peyton Kennedy 5’11”: Earned four letters in basketball and two in Track & Field. Named to the All-Conference team twice (senior and sophomore). Named to the All-State team (senior).

F Ny Toang 6’0”: Four-year letterwinner in basketball. Reached the semifinals in the State Tournament as a junior and the quarterfinals as a freshman and sophomore.

G Kiley Bess 6’0”: Earned four letters in basketball and volleyball and one in soccer. Named to the All-State team as a junior and senior. Poplar Bluff High School Girl’s all-time leading scorer (2,301 points). Gene Bess (grandfather) is college basketball’s all-time winningest coach (1300 wins).

Head coach: Lisa Stone, 9th season

Coach’s Perspective:

“[On what she's excited for this season] The daily growth of our team. The most excited I am to play right now it sounds funny but to have a season. I'm excited about that. To play a very tough non conference season. And I'm excited about how we're going to do. And we just got to enjoy, got to take it one at a time, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the team really can do.”

“They play their tails off. They really want to win and their focus and their passion together as one that we have to do it in that fashion, because no one can do it by themselves. So, you're going to see a team that defends, rebounds. It has a disciplined attack offensively, whether that's in the fast break or that's in a half court offense we want to be very disciplined. So, again, I'm really excited I think the league is tremendous. We're going to be challenged. But we have some experience, and some challenge that I pray continues to get better every day, and puts us in a position to be knocking at the door of that NCAA tournament and knocking it down for the first time in school history.”

VCU

Place (last year): 2nd

Key returners (Last year’s stats):

G Tera Reed 6’0”: 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game

G Taya Robinson 5’10”: 11.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game

G Madison Hattix-Covington 5’10”: 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game

Key losses (Last year’s stats):

C Danielle Hammond 6’4”: 2019-2020 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year. 11.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks per game.

G Nyra Williams 5’5”: 2.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals per game.

Newcomers:

F/C Chloe Bloom 6’3”: Transferred from Oklahoma. Regarded as a four-star recruit by Prospects Nation and a three-star recruit by ESPN. Averaged a double-double at the 2017 U18 Australia Nationals with 11.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

G Sarah Te-Biasu 5’5”: Played on the Canadian youth national teams. Member of the U19 Canadian National Team and averaged 8.0 points and 4.0 assists in the 2018 U17 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

G Dasia Townes 5’11”: Named to the ALL-USA Maryland Girls Basketball Second Team as well as First Team All-Metro in 2018-19 after averaging 15 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals per game.

G Rain Green 5’6”: Led her team in assists and steals as a sophomore and junior. Also played football and ran track.

F Elze Motekaityte 6’2”: Competed for Lithuania in the 2017 U16 Women's European Championship. Helped lead new Hope Academy to a 40-3 record in 2018-19 and a GEICO National Championship.

Head coach: Beth O’Boyle, 7th season