Sunday, July 28, 2013

D-II Le Moyne Has Plenty Of MAAC Connections

A recent announcement of the assistant coaches for the women's basketball team at Le Moyne meant that Division II program now has an all-former Siena staff.

The school's head coach, Gina Castelli, had been at Siena for 23 seasons before she was fired there after the 2011-12 season. Castelli then spent a year on the staff at Rhode Island before she was hired at Le Moyne earlier this off-season.

Castelli announced her assistant coaches earlier this week, and they are two of her former players from Siena.

They are Cristina Centeno, a 2012 Siena graduate, and Lily Grenci, a 2013 grad.

Centeno, a four-year starting guard under Castelli at Siena, was one of the MAAC's most-versatile performers. She is one of only 13 players in league history to record career totals of at least 900 points, 400 rebounds, 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 three-pointers. She twice represented Puerto Rico in international competition.

After her career at Siena, Centeno was the No. 4 overall pick by the Quebradillas Pirates in the 2012 draft of Puerto Rico's Baloncesto Superior Nacional Femenino. She played for that team in the 2012 season and averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals to be the league's Rookie of the Year and help her team to a regular-season league title.

Grenci, who was recruited by Castelli and played for the former Siena coach through her junior year, was a first team all-MAAC selection in each of the past two seasons. She was a 1,000-point career scorer (1,074 points), despite missing much of her first two seasons with injuries. Grenci averaged 15.9 points (2nd in the MAAC) and 9.5 rebounds (third in the MAAC) this past season and was the conference's only player to finish in the top three in those two statistical categories.

Grenci eschewed opportunities to play professionally overseas to begin graduate-level study at Le Moyne and be the program's grad assistant coach.

"I am absolutely thrilled to have both Lily Grenci and Cristina Centeno join me here at Le Moyne College," said Castelli, in a press release issued by the school. "As players they were tireless workers and respected leaders. I know that they will bring that same mentality to our women's basketball program."

And, it appears, they won't be the only MAAC connections at Le Moyne for the upcoming season.

Former Niagara standout Kayla Stroman, a native of Syracuse, is expected to play for the Dolphins in 2013-14.

Stroman was a three-year starter at Niagara who sat out a season with a knee injury. She graduated from that school in May and opted to continue graduate-level studies at Le Moyne. By transferring down a level she is eligible to play without having to sit out a season.

The 5-foot-5 Stroman, a dynamic point guard, averaged 6.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.2 steals per game at Niagara this past season. She was second in the MAAC in assists and fifth in steals.

As if that's not enough of a MAAC presence at the Syracuse school ... its men's coach, Steve Evans, was an assistant coach at Siena for three seasons. Evans has been Le Moyne's coach for the past 13 years.

1 comment:

EdB said...

this is always a fun column, really well reported. Thanks for your perspective, Steve