The 2016-17 Felician University women's basketball team enters its Nov. 11 season opener with seven newcomers, including four transfers, on a 15-player active roster. While the coaching staff was looking to recruit experienced players to avoid a repeat of last year's disappointing 2-24 campaign, the roster make-up has created some interesting preseason dynamics.
"There's no question that the bar has been raised in practice," said ninth-year Felician head coach Steve Fagan. "But our returnees are doing a great job learning about our new players and easing their transition. Every day we talk about team and only team, and our players have bought into that philosophy. We have a great nucleus of young women that enjoy competition."
The Golden Falcons hope to especially improve on the offensive end, one year after finishing last in the 14-team Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference in points per game. Fagan feels like he has the personnel in place to alleviate that concern.
"We have scorers," he said. "We want to get up and down the court, but we have to make sure we are finding the shooters. Overall we are deeper and more versatile, especially among the starting five. Our goals right now are just to find the right chemistry on the floor, and to make every day and every practice better than the last one."
GUARDS: A pair of transfers, junior Shana Owen (Philadelphia, Pa./Carver) from Valley Forge Military College and classmate Marta Moix (Madrid, Spain/John Carroll School [Md.]) from Concord University, is expected to man the backcourt. However, another transfer, sophomore Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./International), formerly of Division-I New Jersey Institute of Technology, is potentially a major contributor if she can recover from a preseason injury.
The coaching staff also has several options at guard that are experienced in Fagan's system. Sophomore Hannah Johnson (Jersey City, N.J./Saint Dominic Academy) saw extended playing time as a rookie. Third-year sophomore co-captain Danelle Gibson (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) is coming off a medical "redshirt" season, and senior co-captain Taylor Trotman (East Orange, N.J./University) looks to provide leadership from the bench.
FORWARDS: Sophomore Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) looks to be healthy after an injury-plagued freshman season. Stone, junior college transfer Marya Trapp (Red Bank, N.J./Red Bank Regional) and true freshman Safiyyah Lee (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) should all see significant time in the playing rotation.
Redshirt sophomore Kayla Hourany (Queens, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) and freshman Arta Krasniqi (Bronx, N.Y./John F. Kennedy) are swing players who can knock down open shots from the perimeter. Senior Success Edioma (Newark, N.J./East Side) provides Fagan with quality depth.
CENTERS: Redshirt freshman Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) is the early favorite to start at the '5' slot. However, returnees Treanda Foster (Bronx, N.Y./John F. Kennedy) and Remi Iwelu (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Laughlin) have plenty of experience and will challenge.