To say that the 2012-13 edition of the Barry University women’s basketball team is “re-built” might be an understatement. All five starters from last season’s squad which tied for first in the Sunshine State Conference are gone, along with several key reserves. In fact, only three players who played in at least 20 games return.
“This should be a very interesting year for our women’s basketball team,” head coach Bill Sullivan said. “For the first time ever, we have more newcomers than returners on the roster. Only four of our players return and we have added nine new ones. With all five starters graduated from our 2011-12 SSC Co-Champion team, we certainly need to rely on several of our newcomers to play significant roles this year.”
The Bucs return only 23.1 percent of their scoring and 20.0 percent of their rebounding from last year. The returning players did shoot 37.2 percent from the floor, including 31.9 from three-point range, and 64.2 percent from the line.
“We are excited about our four returners and we believe we have brought in several immediate impact players,” Sullivan said. “With a talented blend of players both new and old, one of our team strengths should be our depth and size at the guard positions. Even though we may not be the most experienced squad, our goal is to work hard to become a very competitive team by the time we begin conference play.”
As much as anywhere, the Bucs’ strength lies on the perimeter. In addition to three returning players, the Bucs have three transfers and three freshmen vying for time in the backcourt.
“We feel we have a lot of depth at the guard positions,” Sullivan said. “Since we have several excellent three-point shooters, expect to see a large number of our shots coming from long range. Our perimeter players will certainly be given the ‘green light’ from beyond the arc this year.”
Senior Amanda Frontino has played in 42 games as a Buccaneer, by far the most on the roster. A very intelligent player, now in her third year in the system, her experience will be invaluable to integrating the newcomers.
Junior Colette Eule played in all 27 games a year ago and is the top returning scorer on the squad. An outstanding shooter, she connected on 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and 81.3 percent at the line.
Sophomore Jackie Perez was second on the team last year in made three-pointers with 26 and her 37.1 shooting percentage was seventh in the league.
The Bucs’ three transfers all led their teams in scoring after having played at all levels of NCAA basketball.
Senior Dominique Dixon averaged 12.1 points per game for Detroit-Mercy, ranking 17th in the NCAA Division I Horizon League. She chipped in 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists, while shooting 31.0 percent from three-point range.
Junior Tyler Hardy topped the Warriors at Wayne State (Mich.) at 14.6 points per game in the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference. She shot 47.5 percent from the field and 81.3 percent from the line. She added 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
Both Dixon and Hardy bring great size to the backcourt.
The three freshmen all bring very different skills sets.
Stephanie Ball was a scoring machine at Lincoln Park Academy where she pumped in over 1,400 points and led the Greyhounds to four straight district titles. As a senior, she averaged 18 points, 3.8 assists and 4 steals per game to earn First-Team All-State selection by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches.
Champ Horice was an athletic prodigy at Apopka High. The 5-8 guard set school records in rebounding (18) and blocked shots (9). As a senior, she averaged 9.1 points and 9.0 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game to earn a spot in the UNCF All-Star Game.
Ella Ramonas is a big guard with a great basketball IQ. She led Deering High in Maine to a 74-10 mark over her four years, including one state title. She led the Rams in scoring (18 ppg), rebounding (8 rpg), assists (4 apg) and steals (4spg) to earn All-Southern Maine Activities Association honors and a spot in the McDonald’s Maine All-Star Game.
With only sophomore Kaley Howard returning in the post, newcomers figure to play a very prominent role this season.
Howard averaged 4.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a rookie last year and was the only player, other than the five normal starters, to log at least two starts. She shot a very respectable 40.9 percent from the field.
“Although we will be fairly young and inexperienced at the forward and center positions, we believe we have added some talented posts who will prove to be high-quality players,” Sullivan said. “We realize there will be a learning curve but they are a hard-working group and once they get some game experience we expect them to be solid contributors to our team.”
A Division I transfer and a pair of freshmen round out the contingent in the post.
Junior Alesha Jenkins spent two seasons with the Eagles of North Carolina Central. As a sophomore, she averaged 4.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 63.3 percent from the line. She was a Broward County All-Star selection and a Miami Herald Second-Team honoree at Coconut Creek High.
Emily Schahczinski and Danika Pisconeri are the tallest members of the squad at 6-1.
Schahczinski averaged 14.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and was selected MVP for the Elkhorn High Elks in Wisconsin as a senior. She was selected to the Division II All-Star Team by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association and helped lead her club team, the Wisconsin Lakers AAU, to the United States Junior National championship in 2012.
Pisconeri hails from Western Australia, like teammate Frontino, and won a bronze medal in the Under-20 Australian National Championships with her club team, the Waves. A solid defender, she was ranked in the top-10 in the national tournament in rebounds and blocked shots.
In addition, some of the perimeter players have the size and ability to help out in the post, including Frontino, Ramonas and Hardy.