Buffalo, NY - With a young nucleus and influx of talent on the roster, the D'Youville women's basketball team will look to build a formidable opponent in 2017-18 and beyond.
"We have a lot of youth on this year's team, and the energy they bring is very exciting," said sixth year head coach Dan Glover. "We will lean on them to provide a punch in our lineup. We know there will be some growing pains, but these are some very smart and talented players that we believe will continue to develop as the year goes on."
Over two-thirds of the team this season are underclassmen with just five upperclassmen. Those five players are for poised for leadership roles and will be counted on for their valuable experience. The eight returners from last season's team made up 61.2% of the team's scoring in 2016-17, with five of the top six returners being the upperclassmen.
Of those five players, the team has one senior this year in guard/forward combo Hannah Simone (Rochester, NY/Bishop Kearney). Simone is one of the best shooters on the team and in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference as she led the team with a 33.3 three-point percentage. Her 8.2 PPG in 2016-17 was second on the team and leads all returning players.
Each of the four juniors on the team will be asked to play larger parts for the women this season as they step into leadership roles. Of those juniors, forward Darian Evans (Brant, NY/Lake Shore) and guard Monica June (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech) are not only the two of the top three returning scorers from last season, but they have also been named team captains.
Evans scored 6.5 PPG and was second on the team with 5.8 RPG last season while starting and playing in all 24 games. June played a key role off the bench for the Spartans, but added 6.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 1.4 APG. The two will both be looked at as go-to players on offense and defense but also leaders for the team.
Guard Magan Magee (Ellenburg Center, NY/Northern Adirondack) and guard/forward Jordan Smith (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) make up the final two juniors on the roster. Magee was the primary ballhandler for the women last season leading the team with 3.7 APG and also 3.4 SPG. She also scored 5.0 PPG and averaged 2.6 RPG. Smith had a versatile game being able to work in the post, but also step out and hit shots. She contributed 5.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG.
Coach Glover will rely on his top five upperclassmen to provide more than just statistics to the young group.
"Our core group of returners will be looked to lead this years squad and help the transition of our younger players," said Glover. "We are looking for increased roles from our junior and senior classes - Darian Evans, Jordan Smith, Magan Magee, Monica June, and Hannah Simone. They have grown each season and are now in position to make a big impact for their team."
Of the team's sophomore's, forward CeDrice Howard (University Place, WA/Curtis) came on strong late last season and became a reliable contributor for the women. Howard started six of the final seven games of the season, averaging 7.7 PPG and 5.1 RPG. Fellow sophomores guards Marina Campbell (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Catholic) and Morgan Lehman (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove) will look for increased roles in there second seasons.
The group that makes up over half of the team has coach Glover optimistic of what his team can do this season.
"Freshmen guards Sydney Alton (Hannibal, NY/Hannibal) and Briana Dotterweich (Depew, NY/Depew) will be looked at to provide depth and energy in the backcourt. Guard Kailey Kellner (Coupeville, WA/Coupville) is going to be a great addition to our outside shooting and help us spread the floor. Forward Sara Field (Durhamville, NY/VVS) will provide us with some inside match up opportunities with her size."
Adding depth in the backcourt will be Makenna Magee (Ellenburg Center, NY/Northern Adirondack), Callie Rapant (Alexandra Bay, NY/Lafargeville), and Nukia Funderburk (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech). Meanwhile Kelsey Carpenter (Hilton, NY/Hilton) and Emmalea Erlandson (West Valley, NY/West Valley) bring size to the forward position.
With such a young team, Glover hopes that his team can learn to play a full 40-minute game and continue to grow game-in and game-out, potentially making a post-season appearance.
"What we want as a team this season is to be resilient and battle for 40 minutes every game," said Glover. "It is a long season and if we can learn from each game and get better, I believe we can develop into a playoff caliber team. As always, the AMCC Playoffs is a pre-season goal. But we as a team have many other goals we will look to accomplish and doing so should put us in position for a chance to compete in the AMCC Tournament."
The women will begin their season on Wednesday, November 15 as they travel to play the Keuka Wolfpack at 8:00pm. On Monday, November 20 D'Youville will open their home portion of the schedule as they host Wells at 8:00pm.