Here's another in the series of team reports looking back and ahead at conference programs.
SAINT PETER'S WOMEN
2011-12 RECORD: 4-14 in MAAC play, 5-26 overall.
2011-12 RECAP: Exact record as the men's program, but a slight drop from 2010-11 when the Peahens won six games overall. Like 2010-11, there was a horrendous start. The team started 0-15 this past season and then won back-to-back games (including a surprise victory over Loyola). It then lost seven more in a row before a 3-4 mark in its last 7 outings, including a play-in round tournament upset of Canisius. Jynae Judson, a senior forward, was among the better players in the MAAC, but the entire roster was otherwise comprised exclusively of, at least for this past season, role players.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Judson finished seventh in scoring (13.4) and 14th in rebounding (5.6) among league players. Quina Porter, a senior forward, was a warrior inside and one of the MAAC's most improved players (averaging 7.5 points, 6.5 rebounds). Kristal Edwards, a Division II transfer who didn't play last season, added some front-court athleticism (6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds). Then, there was team resiliency. An 0-15 start could have been discouraging, but the team continued to play hard, maybe buoyed by the back-to-back mid-season victories over Loyola and Rider. It also beat Canisius twice (once in the regular season, once in the league tournament), and the Golden Griffins had considerably better individual personnel. Does it bode well for a building block heading into 2012-13? Maybe not. The Peahens won three of their last four games at the end of the 2010-11 season, and that momentum didn't carry over.
WHAT WENT WRONG: As good as Judson was, she missed six games via suspensions for violating team rules. Having her pop in and out of the lineup didn't help. Even when she was around, she was a solo act offensively, making the team easy to defend.. No other player averaged more than 7.5 points. Aziza May, after a promising freshman year at point guard, had the exact numbers in her sophomore season (5.2, 3.0 assists) as she did as a freshman. And, we'll need someone to explain what happened to sophomore guard Teresa Manigrasso. After she was the team's second-leading scorer as a freshman (7.5 points per game), she barely played as a sophomore and averaged just 1.9 points on 24.1 percent shooting. A decent long-range sniper as a frosh (24 treys made), she was just 2-of-22 from bonus depth as a soph. Team-wise, the Peahens were at or near the bottom in just about every statistical category among league members, except for total rebounds. And, that statistic was padded because the team missed so many shots (shooting a league-worst 33.2 percent from the floor), meaning there were more rebounds available in its games.
WHAT'S AHEAD: Probably another year of struggling to get more than five or six wins. Judson, the only offensive weapon, graduates as does Porter, the team's top rebounder. Gone, too, is senior forward Lauren Morris, who had some nice late-season games. Edwards, who averaged just 6.5 points per game, is the top-returning scorer. May, as a freshman, looked like she could develop into one of the league's better point guards, but then didn't make the progress expected from a sophomore. Kaydine Best, a 6-1 junior forward (4.4, 3.4) will need to make major strides.
PREDICTION FOR 2012-13: The program is 18-70 overall over the past three seasons, and there's no end in sight for escaping those kinds of results. Still, despite the lack of recent success, there aren't many teams in the league that play harder every night and that usually gives the Peahens a chance to be competitive. For Saint Peter's to avoid the cellar, though, it needs its role players to make major strides forward and to get some contributions from incoming freshmen ... and, that's a lot to ask.