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2011-12 RECORD TO DATE: 4-7.
2010-11 RECORD: 7-11 in MAAC play, 11-20 overall.
COACHES' PRESEASON PREDICTION: 5th.
KEY RETURNEES (This year's statistics): 6-1 senior forward Kristina Ford (17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds), 6-0 senior forward Tomica Bacic (6.2, 5.6), 5-6 senior guard Suzi Fregosi (5.1, 4.4 assists), 5-7 junior guard Diana Hubbard (4.7, 2.4), 6-3 sophomore center Sabrina Jeridore (4.5, 4.5, 1.7 blocks).
KEY LOSS: Forward Anda Ivkovic (11.5, 5.6).
NOTES: After a five-year stretch averaging 18.8 wins per season came last season's 11-20 record caused, in no small part, by the early season loss of standout point guard Fregosi. She's back, but the wins haven't yet come as the Gaels have played a difficult non-conference schedule with losses coming to, among others, Rutgers, Marquette, Miami, Toledo and Villanova. And, then, came a surprising 75-50 setback on Thursday against Colgate, which now has a 3-11 record. But, Iona played that game without Ford, who leads the conference in scoring and is second in rebounds. She was on crutches for that game with an undisclosed leg injury and her return date, for now, is uncertain ... With Ford, who coach Tony Bozzella opined would be the conference's Player of the Year, Iona is an above-average team. Without her, the Gaels are obviously something less ... Fregosi has returned nicely from last season's hip injury and is second in the MAAC in assists ... Jeridore, a tall inside presence, is second in the conference in blocks ... But, the team will struggle to score without Ford. A freshman guard, Damica Martinez (12.2) is the only other team member who averages more than 6.2 points per game ... Without Ford, rebounding becomes even more of an issue for a team that is already at a 9.1 per-game disadvantage, worst in the MAAC.
HOW IONA CAN SUCCEED: The team's ability to succeed will depend almost entirely on Ford's injury situation. If she comes back, then Iona can be a very good team. Without her, it will be a struggle. At its best, Iona can succeed because it has a stellar floor general in Fregosi, a strong scoring option with Ford and a No. 2 option in Martinez. It has an inside presence with Jeridore.
PREDICTION: Iona, if healthy, is more than capable of finishing in the top three or four spots, maybe even contending for league honors if all goes well. But, if Ford is out for an extended period ten the Gaels will be playing to avoid the bottom four spots and the post-season tournament's play-in round.