Women's Basketball Season Preview
Nov. 7, 2013
The 2013-14 Leopards return five starters to a team that finished 11-19 overall and 4-10 in the Patriot League. In the Patriot League Quarterfinals last season, the seven seeded Leopards were on the brink of an upset, before No. 2 seeded Navy escaped in overtime, 59-55. Pushing the eventual league champion to overtime has given Lafayette confidence heading into the 2013-14 campaign.
"Some bad breaks didn't go our way, but it really helped our players realize we could compete at a high level," head coach Dianne Nolan said.
Nolan and her staff talked with the captains leading into the season and decided on the team's theme this season, "all in".
"The all-in theme ties into how the team wanted to approach this season. It refers to the standard that we hold for ourselves."
Nolan is implementing a platoon system this season and will use all 15 players on the roster.
"The platoon system will be an exciting way to play, a demanding way to play, but it allows us to keep the intensity at a high level," Nolan said. "We want to set the pace of the game and that starts with our point guards."
Juniors Maddie Peabody and Brya Freeland will split time at the point guard this season with Nolan's platoon system. Peabody and Freeland will be the quarterbacks of their respective squads, and have shown they are ready to be leaders on the team this season.
"They both have done a great job of expanding their games and managing and making better decisions."
Patriot League All-Rookie Team selection a season ago, Jamie O'Hare will move to a new role this season as a scorer. The sophomore looks poised for another big season after a year of collegiate play under her belt after averaging 6.3 points per game last season.
"Jamie can embrace the running game that we are trying to play and she will become more of a scoring guard this season." Nolan said.
Freshman Jayla Waller will also see time at the two-guard and has quickly adjusted to the college game in her first few months on College Hill. Classmate Maia Hood, who is coming off of a knee injury, will also see time at the two or three guard.
On the wing, Linnel Macklin was very impressive in preseason. She has done everything for the Leopards and is very focused to pushing this team and herself to the next level. The junior averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13.
"Linnel has just been a notch above everyone else in preseason. She is really focused and is putting up outstanding offensive numbers."
Madeline Fahan comes back for her senior season looking to provide more scoring for the Maroon and White.
"Maddie came back with more of a scorer's mentality and we know she is more than capable of getting to the rim, knocking down mid-range and threes, and she is long defensively." Nolan added.
Annette Snow looks to make a splash her sophomore year.
"Annette has made a huge jump from her freshman year, she is more settled and focused. She has a better grasp of her role offensively," Nolan continued.
The Leopards will be strong in the frontcourt this season as they return four key players from last season. Danielle Fiacco leads the way up front for Lafayette. She holds the Lafayette career record with 284 blocked shots (3.6 blocks per game) and also ranks among the best with 8.1 rebounds per game. Fiacco returns for her senior season with a lot of confidence and is looking to push the Leopards into the top tier of the Patriot League.
"Fiacco knows its her senior year and is playing with an attitude and swagger. There isn't a team on our schedule that won't have her number one on the scouting report."
Junior Emily Homan continued to be a force down low last season, averaging nearly 12 points per game while grabbing seven rebounds a night for the Leopards. The former Patriot League Rookie of the Year returned to campus stronger and will look to be more assertive this season.
"Emily did some work in the weight room over the summer. She wants the ball and we need her to take over games."
Senior Kelly Loughney brings another dimension to the Lafayette frontcourt, as she is a threat from the outside. The Clinton, N.J. native has a high basketball IQ and can light it up from beyond the arc. The Leopards will look to take advantage of Loughney's range to help spread the defense and free up space in the key for Fiacco and Homan.
"Kelly has a pure jump shot and good three-point range. She makes good basketball decisions and we will be running a lot of pick and pops with her."
Kristan Liddle is a spark plug for the Maroon and White, bringing a lot of energy and enthusiasm whenever she is in the game. The senior does a little bit of everything for the Leopards and averaged 1.4 points, 2.6 boards and 1.5 assists last season.
"Kristan is like our energizer bunny. She always plays with high energy and really elevates our play."
Nolan has more options in the frontcourt with Jazmin Hayes returning for her sophomore campaign and a pair of freshman, Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby and Ashley Lutz. Ottewill-Soulsby played for England's national team.
"Harriet has a ton of international experience and it can really be seen on the floor. She will be a force inside as she adjusts to the American game."
Three teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including a team that advanced to the Final Four, trips to Chicago and California and 12 games inside the newly renovated Kirby Sports Center highlight the 2013-14 Lafayette women's basketball schedule.
The Leopards' slate of non-conference opponents includes teams from 10 different leagues, including teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Big Ten and the Pac 12.
The Maroon and White open the 2013-14 campaign on Nov. 8 at Kirby Sports Center against Rider University from the MAAC. The Broncs finished last season at 15-15 and defeated the Leopards 68-64 in Easton.
Lafayette begins Patriot League play Jan. 2 at Army and then hosts Navy on Jan. 5 for its League opener.
With the additions of Boston University and Loyola Maryland to the Patriot League, the Leopards will play an 18-game Patriot League season followed by the Patriot League Tournament.
The women's basketball tournament will feature all 10 Patriot League members and will be played entirely at home sites. First-round contests will feature the 10th-seed at the seventh-seed, and the ninth-seed at the eighth-seed. Each tournament will then move to the quarterfinals held at the top four seeds, followed by the semifinals and championship at the site of the higher seeds.