Women's Basketball Gears Up for Start of the 2003-04 Season

Nov. 20, 2003

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About Today's Game
Tonight's Friday night match-up is the season opener for both the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University and the Loyola College Greyhounds. Loyola finished the 2002-03 season with a 11-17 record overall and finished in eighth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at 7-11. Wake Forest finished last season with a 13-15 mark and 3-13 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for ninth place.

Greyhounds Last Time Out
The 2003-04 Loyola College women's basketball squad showed off their talents in an exhibition game against the Turkish National team Wednesday night with a 76-52 win. Head Coach Candy Cage's squad dominated play with all 12 eligible members of the squad scoring.

The Greyhounds were led by sophomore Lauren Troupe with 17 points off the bench and seven rebounds as well. The 2003 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, Katie Scherle, added 15 points and a game-high eight boards. Other leaders in the points category for Loyola were Krystle Harrington with nine points and Lindsay Cobb with eight.

Turkey was led by Esmeral Ozcelik with 10 points and Saziye Ivegin with eight. Arzu Ozyigit pulled down eight boards to tie Scherle's game-high.The Greyhounds led from the straight of the game, never letting Turkey catch up. Loyola held their largest lead near the end of the game with a 26-point cushion at 1:52.

Wednesday's game showcased a much more up-tempo style of play then the fans of Reitz Arena have been used to in the past. Cage utilized her entire bench frequently, with eachmember of the team seeing at least 10 minutes of play.

For The Greyhounds
Loyola returns three starters and nine letter-winners to the 2003-04 squad with the addition of four newcomers and a red-shirt sophomore transfer.

Sophomore Katie Scherle is the leading returning scorer after the freshman campaign that earned her MAAC Rookie of the Year. Scherle appeared in all 28 games, starting in 17 from her forward position. She averaged 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds a game in 2002-03.

Also returning for the Greyhounds is three-time senior captain Lindsay Cobb. Cobb will see more time as the 2-guard this season after spending much of her career at point. Last season she averaged six points, 2.4 rebounds and a team-high 4.2 assists in 31.1 minutes of play.

Also returning for Loyola is junior Robbyn Poole and sophomores Jackie Valderas, Krystle Harrington, Kerri-Lynn Orsini, Jill Henn and Lauren Troupe. Valderas and Harrington both earned starting spots at one point in the 2002-03 season. Valderas led the squad in blocked shots with an average of 1.04 a game while Harrington will run the point this season after gaining valuable experience as a freshman.

Joining the lineup will be guards Ebony Toliver, Brittany Dunn and Jill Glessner as well as forward Meghan Wood. Sophomore Vanessa Ruffin is a transfer from the University of Maryland who will be forced to sit out this season to serve her Year in Residence. All four freshman are expected to add a spark to this year, offensively and defensively.

The Series
Tonight's game is the first ever meeting between Wake Forest and Loyola College.

Scouting Report: The Demon Deacons
Wake Forest returns three of its starters from the 2002-03 squad and 11 letterwinners. The top Demon Deacon returner is senior Tonia Brown, who averages 10.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and four assists per game. Also returning to the starting line-up is sophomore Cotelia Bond-Young who averaged 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds as a freshman. Rounding out the returning starters is Bianca Brown at 4.3 points and 1.9 rebounds a game in 2002-03.

In an exhibition game versus WBC Ilirija, Wake posted three players in double figures in a 74-49 win. Tonia Brown led the squad with 16 points followed by sophomores Keila Evans and Erin Ferrell with 14 points each. Evans also added 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Points of Interest for Tonight's Game:

* Loyola freshman Ebony Toliver will face one of her former teammates tonight. Wake's sophomore Cotelia Bond-Young is a Maryland native from Landover and played with Toliver at Elizabeth Seton High School.

* Greyhound assistant coach Alisha Mosley will face her alma mater and former mentor this evening. Mosley, who was a four-year letter winner as a member of the Wake Forest Women's Basketball team, played for head coach Carlene Curtis from her sophomore to senior seasons.

* Other than Bond-Young, five other members of the 2003-04 squad will be returning to their home state of Maryland for tonight's game. Junior Meredith Ball is orginally from Waldorf, sophomore Keila Evans is a Baltimore native, junior Erin Ferrell hails from Gaithersburg, red-shirt freshman Sandi James came to Wake from Columbia and finally Melissa Washington is from Upper Marlboro.

Wild, Weird and Wacky Triva About the Greyhounds:

* Freshman Ebony Toliver played at for the same high school team, Elizabeth Seton, as Loyola head coach Candy Cage.

* Senior Lindsay Cobb is in her third stint as a team captain. As a sophomore Cobb was joined by then-senior Laura Slater, last season Shontrese Smith and Jennifer Mitchell shared the duties with Cobb and in 2003-04, Cobb was voted the lone captain of the team.

* Sophomore Kerri-Lynn Orsini hails from Fairfield, CT, home of MAAC rival Fairfield University. The Orsini clan are actually neighbors of Stags women's basketball head coach, Diane Nolan.

* Both Lauren Troupe and Ebony Toliver have family connections to the Philadelphia Eagles. Troupe's father, Randy, played for the Eagles while Toliver's cousin, Shawn Barber (now with the Kansas City Chiefs) was an Eagle in the 2002-03 season.

* Sophomore Jackie Valderas has followed in her father's footsteps. Mark Valderas played basketball at Loyola before playing professionally in Puerto Rico.

* Both sophomore Lauren Troupe and junior Shannon Kelleher attended Mount Vernon high School in Alexandria, VA.

* Current Greyhound assistant coach Kelly Muir played for both head coach Candy Cage and assistant coach Mark Miller as a student at Georgia Tech while the two were assistants.

* Coach Cage, Miller and Muir, while at Georgia Tech, faced assistant coach Alisha Mosley in ACC competition. Mosley played at Wake Forest.

* Assistant coach Kelly Muir also coached at MAAC opponent Rider as a graduate assistant coach for Eldon Price.

Preseason Thoughts:
The Greyhounds were ranked eighth in the pre-season poll of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coaches. Here's a look at the complete poll:

TeamOverall RecordMAAC
1. Fairfield (91)12-179-9
2. Siena (85)25-815-3
3. Saint Peter's (79)14-1411-7
4. Niagara (72)20-913-5
5. Manhattan (60)20-1015-3
6. Canisius (50)16-149-9
7. Marist (42)13-168-10
8. Loyola (38)11-177-11
9. Rider (23)8-203-15
10. Iona (10)1-270-18

Also, 2003 MAAC Rookie of the Year, Katie Scherle was named second-team All-MAAC in the pre-season.

Coach Cage:
Head coach Candy Cage is entering her third year at the helm of the Loyola women's basketball program. She holds a 23-34 record to date. Since coming to Loyola, Cage has recruited two of the strongest classes the Greyhounds have seen in quite sometime. The 2002-03 class of six included the MAAC Rookie of the Year as well as three starters for that squad. This season's freshman have yet to be tested but will all see a steady amount of playing time off of the bench and from starting spots.

In the Crystal Ball:
Tynisha Davis has signed her national letter of intent to join the Loyola college women's basketball team in the 2004-05 season head coach Candy Cage announced Friday.

Davis, a 5-7 combination guard, will come to Loyola from Brooklyn's Christ the King High School where she averaged seven points and three steals per game as a junior. Christ the King is heralded as one of nation's top girl's high school programs, having won several New York State titles. The 2002-03 squad at Christ the King sent seven players on to Division I scholarship programs.

"T is an exceptional athlete who can play both guard positions," Cage said. "We are very excited to have a player from such an outstanding High School program join the Loyola College Family."

Fountain of Youth:
The 2003-04 squad ranks second in the nation as the youngest Division I women's basketball team in the country at 18.8 as an average age.
1. Wofford 18.77
2. Loyola 18.8
3. Utah State 18.9
4. Indiana 19
Hawaii 19
6. Tennessee Tech 19.08
7. Appalachian State 19.1
8. University of Central Florida 19.2
Michigan State 19.2
9. Central Michigan 19.23
10. University of New Hampshire 19.3