Here's another in the series previewing conference teams.
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2011-12 RECORD TO DATE: 1-7.
2010-11 RECORD: 11-7 in MAAC play, 14-16 overall.
COACHES' PRESEASON PREDICTION: 7th in the MAAC.
KEY RETURNEES (This season's statistics): 6-0 junior forward Lily Grenci (13.3 points, 7.0 rebounds), 5-8 senior guard Christina Centeno (11.3, 5.6, 4.1 assists), 5-11 senior guard Maja Gerlyng (11.3, 2.0).
KEY NEWCOMER: 5-9 freshman guard Tehersa Coles (3.1, 1.9).
KEY LOSSES: 6-2 center Serena Moore (14.8, 8.7), 5-9 forward Cathy Cockrum (5.0, 5.0), 5-6 point guard Missy Ramsey (2.5, 2.6).
NOTES: Once again, another slow start against a difficult non-conference slate. Last year's team started 1-8 before league play began and, then, went 13-8 the rest of the way ... And, like last year's team, there is much transition here. Three starters are gone from a year ago, including Moore, who led the MAAC in scoring and rebounding a year ago ... This year's team had three new starters and, eight minutes into the season, lost one when point guard Allie Mulligs was lost for the year with a torn ACL ... With Mullins gone, Siena has tried three other players at the point thus far with little success ... The team, though, has shown signs of improvement, losing its last two games by four (to Central Connecticut) and five (to UMass) ... Grenci has shown signs of being one of the league's better inside players, and Centeno and Gerlyng are both capable perimeter players ... Kate Zarotney, a 6-0 post player, has moved into the starting lineup recently and has played well, as has freshman Coles, whose older sister played at Saint Peter's ... The graduation loss of Moore and the lack of a true point guard has really inhibited the offense, which has scored more than 53 points just twice through the first eight games ... Like this time a year ago, the capability for better appears to be there, it's just a matter of adjusting to a full starting five of players in new roles ... The team has also been hindered by injuries with Denmark native freshman Ida Krogh (one game, due to plantar fasciitis), Mullings and another freshman, Kim Lisius-Cote (ankle problems) unavailable.
HOW SIENA CAN SUCCEED: Find a competent point guard. Right now Centeno, who has played the position at times in the past, is the latest to try. The team also just needs to make shots. Against UMass, there were at least four missed wide-open inside shots, those missing costing the Saints an opportunity to beat a decent Atlantic 10 opponent. The team also needs consistent production. Every member of the playing group has had some strong games, but just not on a night-to-night basis. Gaining experience as the year goes on will, theoretically, pay dividends later as the Saints only have two seniors and one junior on the roster.
PREDICTION: The similarity to last season are evident ... a slow start in terms of wins and losses, but signs things are coming together. At some point, a couple wins have to come to create more confidence. But, it came a year ago and could come again this season. There is much young talent on the roster, although some of it is injured, and there is a standout future point guard in place in George Washington transfer Janine Davis, who becomes eligible next season. For this year, though, avoiding the post-season tournament's play-in round would be a nice achievement.