The Felician College women's basketball program enjoyed a breakout season in 2010-11. The Golden Falcons set school records for winning percentage, winning streak and conference wins, and reached the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference playoffs for the first time since 2005-06.
It would stand to reason, therefore, that the expectation level for this year's Felician team has been raised. But fourth-year head coach Steve Fagan isn't buying that line of thinking.
"The only expectations we need to be concerned with are the ones we have for ourselves," Fagan said. "That's to compete against each other every day and make each other better players. We have to control what we can control and that's working hard every day."
The Golden Falcons, who graduated five players off of last year's successful group, have just two seniors and two juniors (both transfers) on an 11-player active roster. But Fagan will not be afraid to be aggressive with his youthful squad.
"We want to get stops on the defensive end with five players who are committed to being a defensive-minded team," he said. "On offense, we'll look to get up and down the floor, share the ball, and get to the basket. We want to put a product on the floor that we can be proud of, and to do that, it's imperative that we come to work every day."
GUARDS: Fourth-year starter and co-captain Destiny Barnette (Paterson, NJ/Passaic Tech) will be asked to handle more responsibility than ever before.
"Our backcourt starts with Destiny on both ends of the floor," Fagan said. "She sets the tempo."
Sophomore Gisell Peguero (Brooklyn, NY/Midwood) and transfer Shakeema Green (New York, NY/Murry Bergtraum) will be asked to run the offense and take care of the ball. Sophomore Jac'Quel Saunders (Trenton, NJ/Trenton Catholic Academy) has the ability to score in multiple ways and will look to become a larger part of the offense. Freshman Sharnese Scott (Bowie, MD/Elizabeth Seton) can provide a defensive spark off the bench.
WINGS: Sophomore swing player Trina Plummer (West Babylon, NY/North Babylon) may take on more of the offensive load. Transfer Que Lyles (Bronx, NY/Banana Kelly) and freshman Alex Salaycik (Staten Island, NY/Moore Catholic) are capable perimeter scorers and rebounders.
POSTS: The loss of graduated first-team all-conference power forward Quay Baskerville will be felt here, but Fagan is depending on the leadership of senior co-captain Jessica Ford (Jersey City, NJ/St. Anthony) to fill some of the void.
"Just as our backcourt runs through Destiny, our frontcourt runs through Jess," Fagan said. "Her influence on and off the court, combined with the evolution of her offensive game, could make her a force in the middle."
6-foot-2 sophomore Bianca Martinez (New York, NY/Christ the King) and 5-foot-11 freshman Mary Chisholm (North Babylon, NY/North Babylon) will battle for playing time behind or alongside Ford. Both are quality defenders and rebounders.