The Felician College women's basketball team leaned heavily on its five seniors in 2013-14 to make a return trip to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference playoffs after a year's absence. But when the season ended in the league quarterfinals, Felician bade farewell to more than two-thirds of its offense with a class headed by three-time all-CACC performer Trina Plummer.
According to seventh-year head coach Steve Fagan, replacing the lost production will fall on the entire 2014-15 roster.
"We're going to have to learn on-the-job in a lot of cases," Fagan said. "Each player must understand her role and strive to get better in it. To carry us through, there has to be a combination of stability and reliability created by our returnees and energy from our freshmen."
What have not changed around the Golden Falcons are their intended methods for achieving success. Creating turnovers via aggressive defense has been a hallmark of Fagan's Felician teams, and he expects that process to continue no matter what personnel is on the floor.
"We will get up and down the court and defend, and we will need to execute on both ends of the floor," Fagan said. "Beyond that, our only goal is to make each day a better day. If that happens, the rest will fall into place."
GUARDS: Co-captain Eliana Scanlon (New York, N.Y./Oak Hill Academy [Va.]) is back after receiving a medical waiver for 2013-14. The 5-foot-8 point guard has returned to health and owns two seasons of eligibility.
"The leadership in our backcourt goes through Eliana on both sides of the floor," Fagan said. "She will be the facilitator of our offense."
Fagan is tempted to start a three-guard offense due to the emergence of true freshmen Danelle Gibson (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) and Shyla Osmond (New Haven, Conn./HS in the Community). Both are high-energy players that can score in various ways and should have little trouble adjusting to Fagan's preferred fast-paced attack.
Senior Sharnese Scott (Bowie, Md./Elizabeth Seton) is a four-year veteran who gives the Golden Falcons toughness off the bench and the ability to play multiple positions.
WINGS: Junior Sierra McDuffie (Paterson, N.J./PCTI) displays a potent inside-outside game when she is at her best. First-year sophomore Success Edioma (Newark, N.J./East Side) has a knack for taking players off the dribble and making an open jump shot.
POSTS: Senior co-captain Ashley Morris (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) is growing into her role as Felician's go-to player. Freshman Treanda Foster (Bronx, N.Y./John F. Kennedy) is developing quickly, especially on the defensive side, and senior Mary Chisholm (West Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon) is a capable back-to-the-basket scorer.
"Ashley has proven that she can be one of the top players in our conference," Fagan said. "But all of our upperclass players, whether starting or coming off the bench, must display a knowledge of our system and an understanding of what playing the game hard is all about."