The Loyola University Maryland women's basketball team will compete Wednesday against Bucknell at Reitz Arena. Tip-off set for 7 p.m. The Greyhounds are looking for their first win.
Scouting Bucknell Bucknell is 2-3 in the season and coming off a 69-62 win against Niagara. The Bison finished 7-21 last season and 2-11 on the road. They are led by Shelby Romine who has 75 points, an average of 15 a game. Alyssa Dunn has 37 points and Cosima Higham and Joyce Novacek each have 37 rebounds. The Bison are coached by Kathy Fedorjaka who is in her 14th season. The last time the Greyhounds played Bucknell was last season where Loyola lost 67-60. Loyola defeated the Bison in 2008 with a score of 61-52 at Reitz Arena. The Greyhounds are 4-5 all-time and 3-1 at Reitz Arena against Bucknell.
Strong Perimeter The Greyhounds look to have a strong offense this season with the return of Miriam McKenzie, Erica DiClemente and Katie Sheahin who scored a combined 1,032 points of Loyola's 1,833 points last season. Loyola will be strong around the perimeter with returning four guards this season including Candice Walker who was injured last season.
"We think we will have opportunities to score," said Head Coach Joe Logan. "The biggest thing we will be looking for from them (McKenzie, DiClemente and Sheahin) is consistency. They will cause some matchup problems on the perimeter.
"We are going to be guard heavy, offensively. But we think that is a good problem to have. We think that good guards help you win games and good guards help you win championships. We think our posts will contribute as well."
"We think Katie is really going to have to step up and be a defensive stopper, Erica DiClemente's experience being here as a fifth-year senior is going to help her and Miriam McKenzie's athletic ability will help," said Logan. "We have pretty good defenders on the perimeter and they are all different. So that is a good problem to have as far as the versatility on the defensive end.
"In the post, Alyssa Sutherland is a sophomore who got a lot of good experience last year and learned from Kaitlin Grant. We think she gives us a little bit of a taller presence then we had in the past and Meredith Tolley is going to rely on her age and experience to help her defend. We are a little bit further along defensively then we have been in the past. We are deeper and more athletic than we have been in the past as well."
Progressing Nicely The Greyhounds added three freshmen to this season's roster. In her senior season, Nicole Krusen scored 359 points and shot 77-percent from the free throw line. She was the all-time leading scoring for her high school with 1,638 points, making 345 three pointers during her career. Nneka Offodile senior season scored 238 points, 27 blocks and had 120 rebounds.
"Nicole Krusen and Nneka Offodile had a really good summer," said Logan. "They were both here for summer school and were able to work out with our strength coach which we think is a huge asset.
"We are looking for Nneka to come in as a bigger presence and for her to rebound and score when she is available. She is going to be a pleasant surprise for us and a lot of people in the league who don't know about her.
"Nicole Krusen is just a tremendous three-point shooter and understands the game. She is a great shooter and good passer.
Junior First Team Junior guard Miriam McKenzie was named to the preseason All-MAAC First Team after earning All-MAAC First Team honors last season. She played in and started all 30 games, averaging 33.7 minutes a game and scoring 501 points, an average of 16.7 a game. She had 85 assists, 228 rebounds, 11 blocks and 35 steals.
In McKenzie's two years as a Greyhound, she has played in 39 games, averaging 28.7 minutes per game and scored 546 points, averaging 14.0 points per game.
All-MAAC Honors Sophomore Katie Sheahin was named to the preseason All-MAAC Third Team after earning MAAC All-Rookie Team honors as a freshman. She played in 24 games in her first year as a Greyhound, averaging 28.0 minutes a game and scoring 211 points, an average of 8.8 per contest. She shot 70-percent from the free throw line and had 110 rebounds. She also chipped in 41 assists, 21 blocks and 51 steals.
Picked Third Overall Marist was picked to win the MAAC title, receiving all ten first place votes for 100 points in the poll. The Red Foxes won their fifth straight MAAC Championship last season. Following Marist was Iona with 90 points, and Loyola was picked third with 70. This is the highest the Greyhounds have been picked to finish under Coach Logan. Last season, they were picked seventh, and in the 2008-2009 season they were picked fifth.
"We always say it is not about where you start it is where you finish," said Logan. "We really as everyone in the MAAC really want to win the MAAC Championships. We are talented enough to do that. The challenge is the rest of the league is very talented as well."
Following the Greyhounds was a tie for fourth with Fairfield and Manhattan both receiving 64 points. They were followed by Niagara (51), Canisius (44), Siena (34), Saint Peter's (20) and Rider (13).
14-16, 9-9 Last Season Last season, the Greyhounds were 14-16 and 9-9 in the conference after losing to Fairfield 70-66 in the quarterfinal round of the 2010 Citizens Bank Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships at the Times Union Center, in Albany N.Y. Miriam McKenzie led the way for Loyola last season averaging 16.7 points per game playing an averaging of 33.7 minutes a game. She also led in rebounds having 228, an average of 7.6. Erica DiClemente averaged 10.7 points per game playing in a total of 1,029 minutes a game. She averaged 5.0 rebounds a game and shot 77-percent for the free throw line.