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Women's Basketball Preview

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Chew me out, tell me im smokin the waky tobacci, but here is the WCDB preview for the 2006-07 Womens Basketball Season...


Great Danes Women’s Basketball Preview


The Great Danes are coming off a 7-21 (3-13) season from last year. Coach Trina Patterson has brought in a new staff and looks to build on pockets of positive play from last season. Patterson returns all but two of her players from last season and has three strong recruits coming in this year. Word has already broken that they will be without junior guard Tanika Thrower for the season due to personal reasons. However, the Great Danes have a solid returning cast that looks to improve on last season.


The Guards/Perimeter: Sherri Mikus will be vital to the Great Danes offense in 2006-07. She finished the year putting up double digit points in the four of the team’s final five games. The strong second half allowed her to finish with 8.6 PPG and 3.14 APG, which was seventh in the America East last season, all as a sophomore. A solid performance in the Empire State Games during the summer kept her loose. (50 points in four games. Nailed eight FG's and finished with 20 points in the Bronze Medal match)


Amanda Ward and Joy Sterling are back for the Great Danes. The question will be will their leadership come from the starters spot or from the bench? Ward’s best performances in the 2005-06 campaign came from when she was in the starting five. She finished averaging 8.3 points per game do to a strong second half.


A big question is how will the Great Danes deal with their outside shooting with the loss of three-point specialist and AE and Great Danes leader Jen Schumacher? Schumacher connected with 66 three-pointers last year, with Amanda Ward finishing far behind in second with 20. Kelly Martinson could be one answer. She took 14 three-point attempts last year with limited playing time. With the loss of Schumacher, the Great Danes could be spending a great deal of time trying to create a perimeter shooting game, with most of the scoring coming from inside the paint.


Quickness will not be an issue, as every player has the ability to move fast pace. However, that quickness lead to sloppy play. Simply break-away layups became an issue because of it. If the Great Danes can create a fast pace offense, with this talent, they could be one of the top scoring teams.


The Post: Sterling, not the biggest member on the team, led the Great Danes with 6.3 rebounds per game. Sterling, along with her 4.6 points per game from last year, proved along with Gia Sanders that size does not matter when it comes to controlling the paint. Sanders averaged 6.0 rebounds per game and led the America East in blocks with 1.86 per game. There was a strong case that she could have been the Defensive Player of the Year in the America East last year if not for the Great Danes record. She also had 1.36 steals per game.


The big question is who will be the leader down low for Albany? Kirsten Peterson is coming off foot surgery during the off-season and Tanacan, who did show signs of brilliance last season, is still only in her second year of collegiate ball. The answer to the question may lye in George Mason transfer Kristen Higy. The 6-1 forward adds tons of size to the Great Danes, however, will sitting out a year hurt her performance. Odds are it wont, as she was one of the top practice players last year for the Great Danes. Her performence in the Empire State Games (28 points in three games) should show she is not rusty at all.


No matter what, having these three six-footers, along with incoming freshman Ashley Lindsey, and the play of Sterling and Sanders, the Great Danes should rank near the top of the America East in rebounds and blocks no matter if they play zone or man-to-man.


The Bench: Tanya James averaged 2.7 PPG and shot .386 from the field with most of her time coming from the bench. (24 of the 27 games she played in) The depth of the team will be strong in comparison to last year. Sterling, Ward along with incoming freshman will all be battling for spots at the start of the year, meaning everyone will be hungry. Depending on how the center spot works out, the Great Danes will have three players all over six foot coming off the bench. The role of Kelly Martinson, who saw more time last year, could be a nice surprise for the Great Danes. Walk-on Sarah Hayes showed spunk and grit last year when she saw action. Asha Jordan is no longer with the team as she transferred to Southern Indiana.


The Rookies: Freshman guard Charity Irminyura could be the make or break for UAlbany. Her stats in her senior year of high school show she could be an immediate impact player in the America East. She averaged 12.2 points per game and was named to the Nebraska Girls Basketball Super-State First Team. She was one of the key leaders in a 48 game winning streak for the Lincoln Northeast Rockets, which ended in the Class A State Championship Game. If the three-year starter can add help to the outside shooting game, she could be looking at a starting bid this year.


Ashley Lindsay will be the fourth six-footer on the Great Danes next year. In her senior year for Canyon Springs, California, she averaged 6.7 rebounds per game, second on her team. She led the team with 21 blocked shots. She finished in the top 10 in her section in scoring, blocks and rebounds, and top 20 in steals and assists.


Britney McGee rounds out the Class of 2006. She averaged 13.7 points per game in her senior year, second in her team. She finished in the top 10 in her league in scoring. Her ability to make plays is a specialty. She averaged 4.7 assists and 2.2 steals per game. (55 steals total) She was able to snag 6.8 rebounds per game.


The Schedule: The Great Danes did not make the schedule easy on themselves. They will be traveling to Florida to take on Bowling Green and Central Florida or Farleigh Dickerson. They will face their first ever Big Ten opponent in Wisconsin, and play a Siena women’s team that looks to continue to grow. An emotional Army squad will also be coming to the RACC this year.


The America East conference schedule will continue to be a toss-up for the Great Danes. Vermont is significantly weaker with the transfer of Alexis Castro, however, Stony Brook and Hartford remain strong despite key losses. Maine showed signs of great improvement last year and will be even tougher this year.


The conference on the women side of the ball was one of the top mid-majors conferences last season, so the schedule does not really get easier for the Great Danes when conference games kick-off in January. The conference is in rebuilding mode this year with tons of younger teams, and that will lead to closer games in the conference. Vulnerable teams are New Hampshire, Binghamton, UMBC and Vermont.


The Prediction:


Starting Five Prediction:

PG - Sherri Mikus, JR

SG - Joy Sterling, SO

G/F - Amanda Ward, SR

SF - Gia Sanders, JR

PF - Kristen Higy, JR


The saying goes, “you have to learn how to walk before you can run.” The Great Danes will make significant strides this year. However, they are not a team built to winning the conference now. This year is for pride for the Great Danes. If anything, the Danes need to step up and say, “We are not going to let others treat us as the doormats of this conference.” The same team from last year is all but back, and they will all be back again next year minus Amanda Ward and Tanya James.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T is the name of the game this year, and I feel they will earn it. However, it may not be enough to get them to the NCAA Tournament in a strong mid-major conference. The defense (first in blocked shots in conference/42nd in the nation and second in steals in the conference in 2005-06) will help them to survive into day two or three of the America East Tournament. 2007-08, maybe even further.Record Prediction : 14-17 (including AE Tournament), 6th in America East Conference

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Actually a pretty thorough screening of the roster.


It seems to me like the team has a solid backcourt with the exception of where will be our three point shooting come from and overall backcourt quickness. I would imagine we'll see alot of zones until we prove we can shoot it.


Decent size and athleticism up front - the question ? - is there anyone who can score consistently, none have proven it at the DI level and there isn't even a 15ppg HS scorer coming in.


Solid depth seems to be a plus.



Predictions - you mention a possible starting five but you don't predict a conference or overall record?


If not a conference w/l record atleast a conference order of finish would have allowed us to get a feel for where you think this team would finish in AE play



Thanks for the info - I found enlightening and interesting.


I for one hope our women are very successful, I'm just not sure where the offense is going to come from on a consistent basis. Maybe that's why I'm just a fan and not a member of a coaching fraternity.

Edited by Patch
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14-17 and a 6th place AE finish seems very realistic coming off a 7-21 year.


That's a 7 game improvement which would be significant.


I'm concerned about overall quickness and speed on the perimeter.


I think that if(?) this team can finds ways to score they will be competitive and therefore fun to watch - if not it could be like last year's team looking in a mirror.


Most good teams have a go to person who can create a shot for themselves I'm not sure the Ladies have that person - like a Jamar, but i could be very wrong.


As Coach would say "it's a Great Day to be a Great Dane"!!!!!


We all hope the ladies are successful.

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Just because you asked for it 84 - You must be smoking the wacki tobacci!!! (just kidding).


I was curious to see you have Higy listed as a PF. I had thought she was more of an Alicia Learn type (SF) player. One of the bright spots I thought last year was Sterling at the power forward spot. Any chance Ironyura (good luck saying that on the radio BTW) starts at one of the guard spots?

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