Welcome back to Basketball Season my fellow GNACer's
Gotta love that college basketball is back in our gyms, I know I do!
Some interesting posts already about other teams in the league this year. I of course am an Emmanuel Saints supporter, but listen to and respect all of the posts about other teams in the conference. However, dont forget that the Saints have not lost a Conference game in 5 years, compiling a 75-0 mark within that time frame. Coach Yosinoff is already bitter with two early losses and has his girls working extra hard preparing for conference play.
Teams that will give the Saints good games this year include Simmons, Norwich and WNEC... and whoever decides to step it up when the Saints travel to their gym. To beat the Saints at the Jean Yawkey Center is almost impossible, the atmosphere is incredible due to the large fan support from the college students on campus.
Poppadoc- I agree with a few of your statements about the Saints... McCoy, Johnson and Paez certainly are the glue to this team. The three of them should combine for close to 45 points every night. With Johnson on the floor, the saints put themselves in good rebounding position on both ends. Paez is an intense defensive specialist and is so mature with her court vision for only being a sophomore. McCoy, the team "veteran" will reach her 1000th career point milestone very shortly, not becuase she is a great shooter, but becuase she works hard on the offensive glass, gets out there on the fast break and makes her free throws.
Some question marks that I have early on include the Saints depth. They have a 15 women roster but in my opinion they only go about 8 maybe 9 deep. The starting 5 includes johnson, paez, mccoy, brittan bushman and molly forbes when everyone is healthy. Forbes, a senior, plays solid defense, can handle pressure and is an excellent passer with a good offensive sense. Bushman, a sophmore shot the ball very well in her rookie season with the saints and will continue to make the 3 ball when needed. This starting 5 will dominate any other 5 in the GNAC.
Role Reserve Players - Maura Mooney, a sophmore, had flashes of brillance last year with strong power moves to the basket and had fierce defensive rebounding prowess. She started a game this season due to a concussion suffered by johnson in an earlier game, so yosinoff is also confident in her abilities on the floor.
Ashley Ames - a freshman, has unlimited potential. She is listed at 6'4'' but is closer to 6'5. 6'6'' in basketball shoes. She runs the floor extremely well, beating mostly everyone to the block on the fast break. Has great touch around the basket, and although doesnt need to often box out becuase of her size, she does anyway which will help her develop into a much better player. When she is in the game and under the defensive basket, teams shy away from driving in the lane becuase she will certainly alter if not block their shots. Ames' minutes will increase as the season goes on and Yosinoff develops confidence in the rookies game.
Ashley King - a sohmore, is probably one of the best defensive gaurds in the GNAC. She is very intense and in your face, and a great asset to presses that Yosinoff will throw at unsuspecting opponents. Not much of an offensive game, but cant make a 12 foot extended jumper routinely. Her defense certainly more then makes up for her offense.
Everyone else on the team has either not proved themselves in games yet, or is still not up to the college level of competition. Two women that have improved from last year are Catherine Gallant and Erica Wenz. Both have seem some time early this season and have shown they have worked on their offensive games developing good power moves underneath the basket, but still lack the game time minutes to have an impact on game results. Both have the ability to be great players, they just need the chance, and with the saints having 5 big women in front of them, their minutes will be limited again this season.
Rickia Fonseca and Lauren Furtney can both flat out shoot... but thats about all they do well... neither plays aggresive enough defense for coach yosinoff to keep them on the floor for more than a few posessions. Last year turnovers were a problem for Fonseca so this year when in the games she is playing the 2 gaurd spot, not handling the ball. Again, the potential is there... but the playing time wont be.
Sara Long, Shardea Parker and Kathleen Brice are also in a tough situation, at the end of a very long rotation of forwards and centers. Long sometimes seems unmotivated while playing. Parker at times very lost on the court, not knowing her defensive assignment and also she does not have great hands when receiving entry passes into the low post, which is unfortunate becuase over the past two years she has developed an above average drop step move to the basketb. Brice is a first year player that rebounds the ball well, but does not play solid enough defense to contain girls quicker then her.
Overall the Saints are not as strong as last years squad, but have much more potential. Everyone knew that last year was going to be a great season. This year the expecations are not as high, but the hunger and desire to advance in late season tournaments from the women is. The GNAC will not be a breeze, but I do expect the Saints to capture the title championship again.
By earning an automatic NCAA bid... well you know the saying, "anything can happen, its tournament time baby!"
I wish the best of luck to the Saints this year, as well to the rest of the GNAC squads becuase frankly, you will need it when the Saints come marching into your town!