Here's another in the series previewing conference teams.
Up now ...
2012-13 RECORD: 8-10 in the MAAC, 12-8 overall.
KEY LOSSES: Guard Ashley Durham (11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds per game), forward Ashley Wilkes (8.2, 6.4), forward Allison Braun (4.0, 4.2).
KEY ADDITION: 5-11 freshman forward Lauren D'Hont.
EARLY STARTERS: 6-3 senior forward Jamie Ruttle (8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds last season), 5-7 senior guard Kayla Hoohuli (6.8, 3.4), 5-9 senior guard Jen Morabito (5.5, 2.0), 5-5 sophomore guard Tiahana Mills (4.1, 3.2, 2.6 assists), 5-10 senior forward Crystal Porter.
NOTABLE: Off to a 4-4 start thus far. This was supposed to be the culmination of one of the program's better recruiting class. Current seniors Ruttle, Morabito, 6-3 Jen Lennox and redshirt junior 6-1 Courtney VandeBovenkamp all captured MAAC Rookie of the Week awards as freshmen in the 2010-11 season. And, then, none has truly made the step to become the requisite star at this level ... The program has languished since a 24-9 finish in 2008-09 that included a berth in the MAAC title game and, ultimately, a national post-season appearance in the WNIT ...Ruttle, despite being one of the MAAC's taller players, only averaged 4.7 rebounds last year and is at 3.9 (and a team-best 11.0 ppg.) this year ...Lennox, an effective shot-blocker (87 for her career) comes off the bench. VandeBovenkamp was knocked out last season by injury, and has been slow to regain her form, although she moved into the starting lineup of late when Porter missed a game with an ankle injury ... Morabito is still a deadly long-range shooter (19 treys thus far and an 8.5 ppg. average), but has never become a double-digit scorer it looked like she'd become ... Porter has stepped up nicely after limited minutes as a freshman. She was averaging 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds before her ankle injury ... Mills (8.0, 5.0 and 4.8 assists) has become one of the league's better point guards as a sophomore ... The Golden Griffins always seem to have terrific long-range shooting, and it's no different this year with Morabito, Hoohuli (10.0 points ppg., 13 treys so far) and sophomore Emily Weber (5.1, 1.3) ... Since that 24-9 season the Griffs have gone 12-19, 11-20, 12-18 and 12-19 ... Freshman Lauren D'Hont (4.1, 2.0) has been contributing off the bench. With three seniors and two juniors among the key players, this should be the year the program turns things around.
REASONABLE EXPECTATION: League coaches picked Canisius, in their preseason poll, to finish 6th, and that's probably an insightful pick. Still, there's height, experience, outside shooting and a very good point guard in place. It wouldn't be a reach to think the Griffs could get as high as fourth if everything comes together.