Oct. 28, 2008
NEW YORK CITY - The Loyola women's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season in the preseason poll conducted by the league's coaches, it was announced today at the MAAC Media Day function at the ESPN Zone in Times Square.
Sophomore point guard Candice Walker was named to the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team, as well by the coaches.
The Greyhounds, who finished the 2007-2008 season with a 13-17 overall record and tied for sixth in the conference, return a strong nucleus of nine players and add a talented group of four first-year players.
"The MAAC has continued to improve each year that I have been at Loyola, and this year should be no different," Fourth-Year Head Coach Joe Logan said. "We have cemented our status as a solid mid-major conference (the league was 13th out of 28 conferences in RPI last season), and it is going to be a very competitive race for the title this year."
Marist was picked to win the MAAC for the fourth year in a row after finishing last year 18-0. Junior post player Rachelle Fitz was named the Preseason Player of the Year.
The Red Foxes picked up all 10 first-place votes to finish with 100 points, with Fairfield tabbed second with 82. Canisius (75), Saint Peter's (63) and the Greyhounds (56) round out the top five.
Iona (54), Siena (52), Manhattan (32), Rider (18) and Niagara (18) fill out the rest of the league in the poll.
Walker was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team a season ago after starting all 30 games in 2007-2008. She led the team with 83 assists and was tied for third on the squad with an 8.2 points per game average.
Her points (8.2), assists (2.8) and minutes played (32.7) per game averaged led all freshmen in the conference last season, and Walker earned MAAC Rookie of the Week honors on four occasions.
Returning for the Greyhounds this season are four other players who averaged more than 18 minutes per game.
Senior guard Siobhan Prior is the team's leading returning scorer (8.2), while junior forward Kaitlin Grant (4.4) is the top rebounder back. Senior guard Ashley Alexander, junior wing Erica DiClemente and sophomore forward Meredith Tolley are the other players back who received starts last season.
Fitz was joined on the Preseason All-MAAC First Team by her teammate, Julianne Vianni, Fairfield's Baendu Lowenthal, Saint Peter's Tania Kennedy and Siena's Shondaya Burrell.
Walker was one of five Second Team members, along with Canisius' Amanda Cavo and Brittane Russell, Iona's Thazina Cook and Marist's Erica Allenspach.
Fairfield's Stephanie Geehan, Niagara's Jennifer McNamee, Rider's Tammy Meyers, Siena's Heather Stec and Saint Peter's Charlene Riddick filled out the Third Team.
The Greyhounds kick off their 2008-2009 campaign on Saturday, November 15, at the University of South Florida Shootout in Tampa, Fla. Loyola will taken on the Ivy League's top preseason team, Harvard, in the first game before facing either the host school or Central Connecticut State on Sunday.