Andrew Anastasio – Sports Writer –
Having lost three starters from a season ago, the Owls Women’s Basketball team will begin their 2012-13 campaign featuring seven freshmen on their roster.
“We have a very young team this year,” head coach Meghan Brown said. “We have a lot of freshmen, but I’m a strong believer in doing what you can with what you have. The thing these kids need the most is experience. I think we’re going to be very competitive; they’re committed, have a willingness to learn, and are very coachable. However, experience does play a key role.”
The freshman class consists of three guards: Katie Stopera, Nicole Grossbard and Amani Light, two forwards: Jackie Beathea and Danielle Powell as well as center Liz McKinley and guard/forward Trinity Barnes.
Despite their lack in seniority, sophomore guard Mariah Hankton said she’s confident this team can still be successful.
“We have a lot of freshmen and four returners,” Hankton said. “I think that we are going to have a great year. Even though we are young, there’s a lot of potential and talent on this year’s team.”
The lone senior on this year’s roster is guard Camille Fantini. Last season, Fantini was ranked second on the team with 11.7 points per game.
She also led the Owls in three-point field goals made with 160 on the year.
Regardless of being the only senior, Fantini said she’s ready to take on a leadership role.
“There’s a little bit of pressure, but it isn’t bad pressure,” Fantini said. “I know a lot of the girls are looking up to me because I’m the oldest one on the team. There’s a lot of eyes on me, and I have to make sure I’m doing everything right along with making sure everyone else is stepping up.”
Last season, the Owls posted an overall record of 25-6, which ranked them second in the Northeast-10 Conference.
They also finished the 2011-12 season ranked second in the NE-10 in total three point field goals made with 181 and first in steals: averaging 14 per game.
This year however, the Owls will be without Sylvonya Moore, their leading scorer a season ago, Alex Fiola who led the team in assists with 77 and Lauren Allen who led the team in minutes played with 1060.
“Alex and Lauren were four-year starters for me,” Brown said. “Sylvonya Moore was a tremendous player who brought a lot of points to the table. You can’t really replace people who had such a strong impact on the program. I don’t try to put expectations on people to try and fill other people’s shoes. It’ll be a little different without those three. They brought a great poise and tenacity to the game. They were fighters, and a lot of fun to coach. They all had an identity, and this team is still kind of searching for that.”
The Owls will open their season Nov. 10 at home vs. Dowling College. Brown said she’s confident her team will be ready to compete next week when they take the floor for the first time this season.
“I think we are absolutely going in the right direction,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of what they do when the lights come on. I’m excited, and I think we will be fun to watch.”