Felician University women's basketball coach Steve Fagan has never been one to make bold predictions. So it was no surprise that when asked what his goals are for his 2017-18 squad, Fagan broke the question into small parts.
"Daily improvement is my biggest concern," said Fagan, entering his 10th season in Rutherford. "We're looking to develop an unselfish style with leaders who are always leading in the same direction. We're certainly looking to be playing in March, but if we respect the game and play it the right way, and play hard and unselfishly, the rest will come together."
All five of Felician's projected starters are returnees from a year ago. In fact, 12 of the 16 active players have some experience, at least in practice, in Fagan's system.
"It will be important that the upperclass dictate the tone," Fagan said. "Our upperclass leadership has been tremendous thus far. The depth we've been able to develop at each position will lead to an exciting brand of basketball."
The development of the bench players will be an important factor in the Golden Falcons' style of play. Ideally, Fagan would like to feature an up-tempo, high-pressure brand of basketball.
"We plan on running and putting pressure on our opponents on both ends of the floor," he said. "We've got a good combination of youth and experience coming off the bench. Their ability to maintain that pressure will dictate just how deep we go."
GUARDS: Redshirt junior co-captain Danelle Gibson (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) returns to run the offense. Gibson enjoyed an injury-free campaign for the first time last season and was among Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference assist leaders. Senior Marta Moix (Madrid, Spain/John Carroll School [Md.]) is the incumbent at shooting guard.
Redshirt sophomore Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./International) looks to regain her shooting touch after sitting out due to injury. A pair of freshmen – Sophia Guerrier (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) and Bionca Chambers (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) -- have been impressive in the preseason. Two more rookies, redshirt freshman Nicole Pimentel (Newark, N.J./Science Park) and true freshman Jaileen Oquendo (Newark, N.J./Science Park), also look to crack the playing rotation.
FORWARDS: After beginning last season as the point guard, senior Shana Owen (Philadelphia, Pa./Carver) shifts to small forward for her senior campaign. Owen was a double-digit per-game rebounder as a junior-college player. Classmate Marya Trapp (Red Bank, N.J./Red Bank Regional) posted 12 double-doubles for the Golden Falcons in 2016-17 and was the CACC's fifth-leading rebounder.
Felician has quality depth at the forward spots, with senior Treanda Foster (Bronx, N.Y./John F. Kennedy), junior Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) and redshirt junior Kayla Hourany (Queens, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) all likely to see significant minutes.
CENTERS: Redshirt sophomore co-captain Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) has regained the starting role at the '5' slot. But transfer Roz Johnson (Newark, N.J./Saint Vincent Academy) will challenge. The Golden Falcons look forward to the development of 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman Madina Tall (Marietta, Ga./Marietta) and the return from injury of junior Remi Iwelu (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Laughlin).