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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

New leadership, same scorers


Previewing the 2017-18 women’s basketball season

St. Joe’s expectations are high for an experienced women’s basketball team, one that is primed for a run to the NCAA tournament. The Hawks will look to build off of their late season successes of last year, and avoid a similar 3-11 start that derailed the team’s NCAA tournament hopes last season.

The team lost a number of key players last season, but retained nearly all of their offensive production.

“On paper you wouldn’t see a whole lot of statistics, we returned 96 percent of our scoring,” said Head Coach Cindy Griffin. “But we lost two very solid defenders, in Mackenzie Rule and Jaryn Garner. They were good perimeter defenders and Mackenzie [Rule] was a great leader for us.”

With the return of leading scorer senior Chelsea Woods and junior starting point guard Alyssa Monaghan, Griffin doesn’t expect the team’s offensive identity to change this season.

“I think we’ll be the same,” Griffin said. I think we have a great point guard in Alyssa Monaghan, she’s very fast and can shoot the ball. Chelsea Woods is our leading returning scorer and a matchup nightmare for people. Sarah Veilleux also had a great summer. And then of course you have Adashia [Franklyn] and Amanda [Fioravanti] underneath that just play so well together.”

Griffin also expects to use the three freshmen, Katie Jekot, Mary Sheehan, and Lula Roig, in some capacity this season.

“Yeah, we are [going to give the freshman minutes],” Griffin said. “Jekot is probably the most experienced kid, as far as the transition. Lula [Roig], the point guard from Spain, she’s got some growing to do but she’ll be ready by conference. And then Mary [Sheehan], she did a good job during the scrimmage today, coming in and being aggressive and shooting the ball.”

Senior Avery Marz has returned to game play after missing the past two seasons due to medical reasons. She was selected as a captain this season, and Griffin sees her playing an important role on the court this year.

“Avery is one of our tri-captains,” Griffin said. “She’s going to be energy off the bench. She plays alive because she is so athletic and she crashes the boards hard. She’s a very vocal leader. And everybody in this program has a lot of respect for her.”

Griffin knows she has a very talented roster, and has high expectations for the team.

“Our expectation is to win the league,” Griffin said. “We want to win the Atlantic 10 and put ourselves in position so that we can win the league and the play in the NCAA tournament.”

Leadership is very hard to replace, but there is no better group than this season’s new senior tri-captains Fioravanti, Franklyn, and Marz. They all carry a great amount of experience and are the perfect unit to lead this team.

Immediately after finding she had another year of eligibility as a graduate student, Fioravanti began working to improve her game.

“Once I found out I had another year of eligibility I started getting back in the gym and began figuring out what are my strengths and what are my weaknesses,” Fioravanti said. “Personally, my outside jump shot was what I had to work on a lot, as well as my defense.”

Entering the season, Fioravanti feels much more comfortable with her mid-range jump shot than ever before.

“Now my mid-range jumper feels great, last year not so much,” she said. “Now I feel confident in myself and I feel like a new person. My outside jump shot is a lot better and even my left hand, I like to go to my left now sometimes too. ”

Marz is going to play her first college basketball game in over two seasons, and she has been patiently waiting for this moment for a long time.

“It’s been a crazy three years,” Marz said.  “I think last year physically I was there but mentally I wasn’t. And now this year I’m back and it’s the best feeling to be a part of everything. I was in practices all last year. But now to be able to participate in scrimmages and play games with the team is a big reward for me.”

Franklyn is the defensive cornerstone of this Hawks team. She is tied for fifth all-time in career blocked shots and 22nd all-time in career rebounds at St. Joe’s. Franklyn’s offensive repertoire has also greatly improved. She averaged a career high 12.3 points per game, second behind only Wood’s 14 points.

Franklyn has continued to work on her game and improved both offensively and defensively throughout the season.

“I’ve worked on finishing my shots, foul shots, being better on defense; guarding quicker and faster and stronger,” Franklyn said. Franklyn’s goal for the team is to reach the NCAA tournament, but she has also set a number of personal goals for herself in order to be the best player and teammate she can possibly be.

“This season personally I want to have the best season that I have ever had,” Franklyn said. “I’ve gotten some accomplishments here and there, but I want to build on that. I can’t be content with where I am. I’m closing in on my 1,000 points, but there are goals as simple as staying healthy that people take for granted.”

Franklyn has the utmost confidence in this team, and if they can stay healthy and play to their potential, other teams will not want to play St. Joe’s in the NCAA Tournament.

“100 percent yes [I feel like we are the best team in the A-10],” Franklyn said. “So we just kind of have to prove it. We’re just trying to be great.”

The women’s team will open their season against Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y. on Nov. 12.

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