Friday, December 13, 2013

Preview Manhattan Women's Rebuilding Going Well

Here's the final installment in the series previewing conference teams.

Up now ...


2012-13 RECORD: 4-14 in MAAC play, 8-23 overall.

KEY LOSSES: Forward Toni-Ann Lawrence (9.9 points, 6.2 rebounds), guard Maggie Blair (4.4, 3.1).

KEY NEWCOMERS: 6-2 freshman center Kayla Grimme, 5-8 freshman guard Nicole Anderson.

EARLY STARTERS: 6-0 senior forward Monica Roeder (12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds last season), 5-7 senior guard Allison Skrec (8., 2.6, 5.0 assists), 6-1 junior forward Ashley Stec (5.6, 3.2), 5-7 junior guard Nicole Isaacs (3.5, 33 3-pointers), 6-2 freshman center Kayla Grimme.

NOTABLE: Despite a poor record a year ago, the Jaspers showed a little at the end, beating Niagara and Loyola in back-to-back games before getting knocked out of MAAC tournament play by Marist ... It's a 1-6 start so far this season, but all the losses have come against very solid mid-major opponents ... Lawrence, who started her career as a little-used reserved, developed into a very good MAAC player and her inside work will be missed ... So far, though, there's more balanced scoring. A year ago, Roeder was the only player who averaged double figures. Her stats are similar this year (11.6, 4.7) and she remains one of the league's better long-range snipers. But she's getting a little help this year. Two others, Isaacs (10.4) and Grimme (10.7) are also averaging double figures, and threee other players are at 5.6 ppg. or better ... Grimme is the surprise of the conference thus far. Her 10.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game makes her one of the early contenders for Rookie of the Year honors. She has already led Manhattain in scoring in three games and in rebounding five times in the team's first seven contests. At 6-2, she is the type of relatively tall post players that don't often come into the league ... Skrec, one of the best true point guards in the league last season, has increased her assist-per-game average to 5.3 this year ... Stec, a project as a freshman, has been improving steadily and is now a starter and averaging 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds ,,. Isaacs remains a long-range threat, having made 20 treys thus far ... Shayna Erickson, one of the MAAC's better freshmen last season, has been coming off the bench (5.6 points, 4.4 rebounds per game) thus far.... The team has had seven different players start a game, and those are the only seven who have averaged at least 9.3 minutes per contest so far ... The freshman class also includes 5-8 guard Nicole Anderson (1.7, 1.7), who has been contributing ... Maeve Parahus, a 6-1 frosh guard, hasn't done much yet bue she's a deadly long-range shooter and should help at some point.

STRENGTHS: Balanced scoring, long-range shooting ability, a precision offense directed by one of the league's better point guards in Skrec and one of the league's top freshmen in Grimme.

WEAKNESSES: Only six players averaging more than 9.3 minutes per game, so depth isn't there yet. Tough early record, but opponents have all been solid. Not a lot of bulk inside.

REASONABLE EXPECTATION: League coaches, in their preseason poll, picked Manhattan for 10th in the 11-team league. Your scribe thinks the Jaspers can be better than that. If the team gets a little more contribution from its bench, and Grimme can continue her early pace, Manhattan could get up into the seventh/eight place range.

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