Sunday, February 9, 2014

More "Glue" Players From MAAC Women's Teams

Here's another installment in the series identifying "glue" players from each women's and men's team in the MAAC.

Teams' glue players are ones who probably won't get post-season all-star honors, but do all the little things required to make their respective teams better.

QUINNIPIAC: Nikoline Ostergaard

Nothing shows the benefit of hard work more than improvement. Ostergaard, a native of Denmark, is a 6-foot-0 junior forward who, over her first two seasons with the Bobcats, had a field goal percentage of 35 percent. This year, though, her shooting percentage is 52.8 percent, which would be fourth best in the MAAC if she weren't just a few attempts short of qualifying for the leader board. She averages 7.0 points per game in just 17.3 minutes per contest. Ostergaard's play is solid at both ends, but she has been particularly a much-needed spark off the bench in terms of scoring this season.

FAIRFIELD: Felicia DaCruz

Who said the 5-foot-5 junior point guard couldn't shoot? Just about everyone in the MAAC last season, and for good reason. DaCruz made only 25.4 percent of her shots from the floor and just connected on just 6-of-43 three-point attempts (14.0 percent) during the 2012-13 season. It was enough for opponents to leave her completely unguarded a year ago, which inhibited the Fairfield offense. DaCruz knew she needed to improve, and spent extra time on the Fairfield campus this past summer taking hundreds of jump shots every day. This year her shooting percentage is up to a reasonable 36.1 percent overall and 33.3 percent from three-point range. In a game against Siena earlier this year she scored all 10 of the Stags' points in an overtime victory while going a perfect 4-of-4, all on jump shots, in the extra session.

MARIST: Emma O'Connor

We'll make an exception here since O'Connor will almost assuredly make one of the MAAC's post-season all-star squads. But, that wasn't expected of her at the season's start. Now a senior, she was sparingly used as a freshman and played even less as a sophomore. She had a solid season last year (9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds), but became more a focus of everything Marist does this season and does a little bit of everything for her team. Undersized at 6-0, she battles taller players with court sense and superb positioning skills on the defensive end. Offensively, she is a handful because of her versatility. She not only can score from the block, but can step out and hit three-pointers (30 made this season). She ranks third best on her team in assists (2.5 per game) and second in steals. And, she's the MAAC leader in field-goal percentage (55.1).

IONA: Haley D'Angelo

Overlooked? How would you get noticed scoring just 81 total points at this late point in the season? This is how you get noticed if you're D'Angelo, a 5-foot-5 senior point guard for the Gaels: you rank fourth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3). D'Angelo won't light up many scoreboards with her point total, but she doesn't have to. She's in the middle of a team of high-scoring players. Still, someone has to be the distributor and D'Angelo handles that role as well as gets in the MAAC, helping the Gaels to a 20-3 record thus far this season.

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