Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Women's Recruiting: Niagara Adds Height, Athleticism

Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs this season.

Up now ...


- VANESSA NEAL (5-7 guard, Pennsauken, N.J., H.S.): She averaged 9.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game as a high school senior.She is a combo guard with quickness/athleticism to be effective at both ends of the floor. Said to be capable of connecting from the perimeter as well as scoring off the dribble.

- TAYLOR McKAY (5-10 guard, Waverly H.S., Lansing, Mich.): A big guard who averaged 9.2 points and 3.4 rebounds as a high school senior. Also, a three-sport athlete (basketball, track and volleyball). More slasher than shooter, but another athlete who used that skill well on the defensive end in high school.

- SYLVIA MAXWELL (5-7 guard, Waverly H.S., Lansing, Mich.): She averaged 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a high school senior playing alongside McKay. Another athletic slasher who was said to be an exceptional defender, particularly on the ball. Has drawn compliments for her intensity and high motor.

- SAM LAPSZYNSKI (6-3 center, Jefferson, N.J. Township High School): A legit 6-3 player who already has a  college-ready build. The MAAC doesn't often get good big players, but Lapszynski appears to be one. She averaged 16.3 points and 9.4 rebounds as a high school senior, was her team's MVP as a junior and a senior and was the New Jersey Herald's Player of the Year this past season.

ANALYSIS: Niagara already had a strong returning group of players, and appears to have added to that cast with the incoming freshmen who, initially, not only provide depth but the type athleticism and quickness that should pay benefits, particularly in terms of defensive pressure. And, Lapzynski gives the Purple Eagles much needed height. It should be interesting to see if she plays together with returning post player 6-2 Lauren Gatto. If they can get on the court at the same time, Niagara should be able to cause opponents trouble in the paint on both ends. It wasn't long ago that Niagara was the least-talented program in the conference, but the Purple Eagles now rank among the better conference teams for overall talent on the roster.

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