BASKETBALL PREVIEW SPECIAL
NOVEMBER 17, 2009
Pursuit of a title A look at the 2009 to 2010 basketball season
■ Women’s veteran guards set to lead, p. 26 ■ UAA preview, p. 26 and 27 ■ Profile of men’s guard Kenny Small ’10, p. 28 Photos: David Sheppard-Brick/Justice File Photos. Design: Julian Agin-Liebes and Brian Blumenthal/the Justice
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009
Judges read PREPARATION WARMUP: Guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 looks to make a play inside in the men’s basketball team’s scrimmage against Springﬁeld College Nov. 6.
JULIAN AGIN-LIEBES/the Justice
NEW FACE: Women’s basketball rookie guard Micha Broadnax ’13 dribbles during a team practice last October. Broadnax is one of six ﬁrst-years on the Judges’ roster this season.
NATHANIEL FREEDMAN/the Justice
NATHANIEL FREEDMAN/the Justice
Squad looks to build on historic sea ■ After graduating three of
its top forwards, the women’s basketball team’s strength lies in its backcourt this season. By MELISSA SIEGEL JUSTICE SENIOR WRITER
After three straight seasons in which it was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the women’s basketball team finally overcame its postseason struggles and reached the Sectional Finals for the first time in school history. This season, the team faces a new challenge— how to build on such success after losing two-fifths of its starting lineup from that historic season. Forwards Lauren Orlando ’09 and Cassidy Dadaos ’09 graduated after starting all 28 games for the Judges last season. Forward Amanda Wells ’09 also graduated last season after serving as the team’s top forward off the bench. The three frontcourt players helped guide the Judges in their deepest NCAA Tournament run before falling to Amherst College one game short of the Final Four. They were also part of the most successful four-year stretch in team history as the only seniors to reach the NCAA Tournament in all four years they were on the squad. Without Orlando, Dadaos and Wells, the team will have a gap to fill down low. “All three, they gave us great experience and great depth in the post, but our returning posts are up for the challenge,” coach Carol Simon said.
Your guide to the University Athletic Association The University Athletic Association has proven to be one of the toughest conferences in Division III basketball over the last few seasons. At times last season up to nine UAA men’s and women’s teams were ranked in the D3hoops.com top 25 poll. This year, the Brandeis women’s team starts the season at No. 9 in the country and No. 3 in the UAA, while the men’s team is No. 22 in the nation and No. 2 in the UAA. Here is a look at the Judges’ conference competition.
—Compiled by Jonathan Steinberg
Orlando was the team’s second leading scorer last year with an average of 10 points per game and was third on the team with 132 rebounds. Dadaos averaged 7 points per game and was second with 154 rebounds. Wells appeared in all 28 games and was fourth on the team with 100 rebounds. “I think overall we really just have to make sure that the people who are filling [Orlando’s and Dadaos’] spots are confident with their own individual play,” guard Diana Cincotta ’11 said. “I think as a team just playing hard one-on-one when we’re in practice and just making sure that we all know the plays and we all support each other if we make a mistake.” But the team still returns some key members from last year’s squad, particularly in the backcourt. At the top of the depth chart is co-captain guard Jessica Chapin ’10, who led the team in every major statistical category last season, averaging 14.1 points per game. Chapin was a first-team all-conference selection last season and was named to the preseason fourth-team all-America team by D3hoops.com. Cincotta should also play a key role at a guard position after starting all but one game last season, finishing the year second on the team with 62 assists. Guard Lauren Rashford ’10 will also return to the squad after missing the final 11 games of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which she injured in practice before a key conference road trip last February. Before the injury, Rashford was averaging 8.1 points per game and was third on the team in minutes played. “She’s getting there,” Simon said of
Rashford’s progress off her injury. “She probably won’t be 100 percent, really, I would probably assume, until second semester, but she’s pretty darn close.” Simon was sure that Rashford would be ready for the start of the season and has been practicing with the team. Guard Morgan Kendrew ’12, who started in place of Rashford after the injury, and guard/forward Kelly Ethier ’12 headlined last year’s rookie class. The two came on strong in the second half of the last season, especially in the postseason. Kendrew scored in double figures in two of the Judges’ three wins in the NCAA Tournament, while Ethier had her only double-digit-scoring game of the season against Mount St. Mary College in the second round. Now Simon hopes the two can continue their success and avoid a sophomore slump. “[A sophomore slump] is usually mental,” Simon said. “Freshman year they are new; they’re new to other teams; and then once they’ve been playing, other teams have seen them, so it’s just a matter of adding to their game, learning how to make adjustments when teams play you differently.” Simon is also hoping some of her returning players will be able to step into the roles vacated by Orlando and Dadaos last season. She singled out forwards Amber Strodthoff ’11, who appeared in all 28 games off the bench and was fifth on the team in rebounds, co-captain Kasey Gieschen ’10, Brighid Courtney ’12 and Shannon Hassan ’12 as players who she thinks will contribute this season.
Washington University Bears MEN 2008-2009 record: 29-2 (13-1) UAA Preseason Ranking: 1st Key phrase: Dynasty. Senior Aaron Thompson, the 2008 to 2009 UAA Player of the Year, and graduate student Sean Wallis will try to lead the Bears to another championship. The team has won back-to-back National and UAA titles, and has made three consecutive trips to the Final Four. The Bears are ranked No. 1 nationally by D3hoops.com. WOMEN 2008-2009 record: 26-5 (13-1) UAA Preseason Ranking: 1st Key phrase: Dominance. The Bears were the national runner up last season after losing in the title game but are ranked No. 1 by D3hoops.com to start this season.
The team also has four forwards among its six rookies this season, including McDonald’s All-American nominee Courtney Ness ’13 and second-team all-New York State selection Shannon Ingram ’13. The Judges come into this season ranked No. 9 in the D3hoops.com national preseason poll, though fellow University Athletic Association foe and last season’s national-runner up Washington University in St. Louis is ranked No. 1. Simon, however, does not take much out of these early rankings. “Preseason rankings are nice—it shows that the Brandeis program has been given great respect—but each year’s different. You never know what any team is going to do,” Simon added. “That’s more for just the media, I think, to be honest.” This season, the Judges face six teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. Of these, three are UAA teams that the Judges will play twice: WashU, New York University and the University of Rochester. Last season the Judges had one of the toughest schedules in Division III, aided by the strength of the UAA. Brandeis is currently ranked No. 3 in the UAA preseason poll behind WashU and the University of Chicago. “I think really just being disciplined with defense [will help us beat UAA teams],” Cincotta said. “We’re not the biggest team in the UAA, but if we play defense the way we need to and the way we know how to, I think that will really play a distinct part in distinguishing us from other UAA teams.” Brandeis plays at Babson College tonight at 7 p.m.
University of Chicago Maroons MEN 2008-2009 record: 6-19 (6-8) UAA Preseason Ranking: 5th Key phrase: Picking up momentum. The Maroons, who had a disappointing season despite winning five of their final nine games, will look to continue that momentum with seniors John Kinsella, who was selected as a second-team All-UAA player, and Jake Pancratz, who received a UAA honorable mention. WOMEN 2008-2009 record: 17-8 (8-6) UAA Preseason Ranking: 2nd Key phrase: Team chemistry: The Maroons return four starters to their lineup for the upcoming season. Watch for senior forward Molly Hackney and sophomore guard Bryanne Halfhill, who made the All-UAA second team last season.
FRESH LEGS: Guard Lauren Rashford ’10 glides to the ho
University of Rochester Yellowjackets MEN 2008-2009 record: 16-9 (7-7) UAA Preseason Ranking: 3rd Key phrase: Young stars. The Yellowjackets, returning 11 players, will look to last year’s UAA Rookie of the Year Nate Novosel, who led UAA in field goal percentage, to lead the team to another strong season.
M 20 UA Ke se Ke la
WOMEN 2008-2009 record: 24-4 (11-3) UAA Preseason Ranking: 5th Key phrase: Leadership. Co-captains junior Melissa Alwardt, who was fourth in the UAA in scoring, and senior Jessica Mastronardi both return to the starting lineup for the Yellowjackets. They will look to improve on last season’s impressive record.
W 20 UA Ke so m Th sp ag fo
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009
dy for more THE MEN
ONE-ON-ONE: Guard Mia DePalo ’11, left, tries to drive past teammate guard Carmela Breslin ’10 in a team practice late last month. The Judges hope that both DePalo and Breslin can be crucial elements to the squad’s depth at the guard position this season.
SHEPPARD-BRICK/Justice File Photo
oop in a win last season.
Team hopes for deeper tournament run ■ The men’s basketball
team will rely on a short rotation to carry it deep in the NCAA Tournament. By MAX GOLDSTEIN JUSTICE STAFF WRITER
Coming off last year’s disappointing 67-65 second-round loss in the NCAA Division III Tournament against Franklin & Marshall College last season, the Brandeis men’s basketball team is hoping to revive itself and advance deeper in the NCAA Tournament this season. The team begins the season ranked at No. 22 in Division III, according to D3hoops.com, and hopes to exceed preseason expectations and rise farther toward the top, starting tonight at 7 p.m. at home against Lasell College. The Judges will rely heavily on their veteran seniors, in particular guards Kenny Small ’10 and Andre Roberson ’10 in the backcourt, and forwards Terrell Hollins ’10 and Rich Magee ’10 in the frontcourt, to lead them this year. “Any team that’s going to be good needs seniors, because they’ve been through it, have experience and have seen everything,” coach Brian Meehan said. “The four guys we’ve got have played a lot of minutes, and here is where those minutes pay dividends.” Meehan also hopes to give a lot of playing time to his fifth senior, guard John Weldon ’10, who played 10 games last year coming off of hip surgery. “He’s a whole different kid this year; he’s looked great in scrimmage,” Meehan said of Weldon. Unlike other squads, Brandeis does not yet have a set starting five, nor does it have any first-year recruits. Instead, the team will rely on an eight-man rotation of veteran players, most likely consisting of Roberson, Small, Magee, Hollins, Weldon, forwards Christian Yemga ’11 and Vytus Kriskus ’12 and guard Tyrone Hughes ’12. Having consistent rotations among these eight players will be crucial in keeping the team fresh. “We have all [these] guys who are all [returning players, and] we’re going to rely on those eight guys. In all honesty, all eight will have to be key contributors,” Meehan said. “They’re all going play a lot of minutes, whether they start or not. They’re all focused on being possible contributors. We won’t have that one or two guys who will lead the team.” The team is optimistic that it can improve upon last year’s finish and
New York University Violets
hopes to incorporate a new style that could benefit its players. Meehan said the squad will focus on playing a faster tempo that he feels caters to his players’ strengths. “I think we are more athletic than last year. We need the game to be played at a quicker pace; we need to force the issue,” Meehan said. Key games this year include hosting No. 25 Amherst College Feb. 9 and battling the defending national champion No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis both at home and on the road as part of conference play. It will be critical, however, for Brandeis to win enough regional games against squads like Amherst, Lasell and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth this season, not only to get into the NCAA Tournament but also to assure home-court advantage in the postseason after losing on the road in the NCAA Tournament last season. “We need to get those wins that we didn’t get last year, especially against teams like Lasell,” Meehan said. “If we get those wins, we get into the tourney, and if we get in to the tourney, home court advantage is huge. There is such a big difference playing on the road, where the fans are against you and the refs are from the area. Playing at home is big.” Despite having five seniors on the roster this season, the team did lose a pair of consistent contributors from last year’s squad in guard Kevin Olson ’09 and forward Steve DeLuca ’08, who returned last season as a graduate student to complete his final year of eligibility after missing most of his senior season in 2007 to 2008 with back- and foot-related injuries. “[Olson] and [DeLuca] had great careers at Brandeis—not a shock there—but every guy eventually leaves,” Meehan said. “It gives more guys an opportunity to play and step up.” The team hopes it can at least repeat its success from last season and will strive to better its results from two seasons ago. That season, the team reached the Sectional Finals of the NCAA Tournament, the farthest the men’s team has advanced in postseason play in its history. “We have a small team and a very small margin of error,” Meehan said. “We have an opportunity to be very good; we could end up better than last year or [end up] doing exactly what we did last year.” After tonight’s home opener, the Judges will host Emerson College Saturday at 5 p.m. for their second contest of the season. The Judges will then play their first road game of the season at UMass-Dartmouth Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.
Case Western Reserve Spartans
MEN 008-2009 record: 17-11 (4-10) AA Preseason Ranking: 4th ey phrase: Strong starters. The Violets return three enior starters this season. The trio of Omar Meziab, eith Jensen and Richie Polan will look to improve on st year’s UAA record.
MEN 2008-2009 record: 8-17 (5-9) UAA Preseason Ranking: 6th Key phrase: Crunching numbers. The Spartans return five of their top seven scorers and their three leading rebounders from last season in hopes of turning around a losing season.
WOMEN 008-2009 record: 23-5 (10-4) AA Preseason Ranking: 4th ey phrase: Senior strength. The Violets enter the seaon returning three senior starters: forward Grace Carmen and guards Emily Foshag and Jen Hum-Traverso. he Violets hope they can top the UAA standings depite losing star forward Jessica McEntire, who averged 15.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in her our-year career.
WOMEN 2008-2009 record: 10-15 (3-11) UAA Preseason Ranking: 7th Key phrase: New chemistry. The Spartans will return all five of their starters from last season and add eight rookies to their lineup. Senior Ashleigh Tondo, a captain and four-year starter who led the UAA in assists last season, will be a key part of this team’s success.
DAVID SHEPPARD-BRICK/Justice File Photo
STRONG BOARD: Men’s forward Terrell Hollins ’10 controls a rebound in a home game last season.
Emory University Eagles
Carnegie Mellon Univ Tartans
MEN 2008-2009 record: 7-18 (2-12) UAA Preseason Ranking: 8th Key phrase: Senior guidance. The Eagles return a trio of starting seniors, including guard Anthony Fernandez and Chad Hixon, who both received an all-UAA Honorable Mention. They and Daniel Curin will look to improve on last year’s record.
MEN 2008-2009 record: 20-7 (9-5) UAA Preseason Ranking: 7th Key phrase: New lineup. With only two starters returning from last year’s team, senior Jack Anderson and junior Shane Rife, the Tartans will be looking for some new blood in the starting lineup and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
WOMEN 2008-2009 record: 13-12 (4-10) UAA Preseason Ranking: 6th Key phrase: Rookie competition. The Eagles recruited four freshmen during the offseason who will compete for playing time in the frontcourt: Danielle Landry, Lauren Ferguson, Brooke Thyng and Jordan Strang.
WOMEN 2008-2009 record: 5-20 (0-14) UAA Preseason Ranking: 8th Key phrase: Rookie no more. Last season’s UAA Rookie of the Year, Jacki Cortese, one of the bright spots on the team last year, will look to revitalize a struggling Tartans squad.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009
Kenny Small’s ’10 big contribution By JOSH ASEN
Players to watch MEN 33 TERRELL HOLLINS Senior 6’4” Forward Captain
WOMEN 23 JESSICA CHAPIN Senior 5’6” Guard Captain
Hollins finished Minutes: 19.4 ninth in the Uni- Points: 9.1 versity Athletic As- Rebounds: 5.8 sociation in rebounds and 10th in field goal percentage at 50.3 last season. The 2007 to 2008 second team all-conference selection has eight career double-doubles.
Chapin was a Minutes: 32.8 large part of the Points: 14.1 team’s success Rebounds: 6.7 last season, leading the Judges in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Chapin was selected as a preseason All-American this season. Last year, she was named to the first team All-UAA.
52 RICH MAGEE
53 KASEY GIESCHEN
JUSTICE EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Men’s basketball guard Kenny Small ’10 found himself starting on the bench for the majority of his team’s games last season. Although he was in the starting lineup for last season’s opener, a 66-64 loss at Lasell College, he did not crack the starting five until the final seven games of the season. And that was just the way he wanted it. “I started the first game, but [coach Brian Meehan and I] made an agreement that I would come off the bench and be like an energy guy,” Small said. “I dedicated myself to come off the bench and provide instant offense and defense.” Small did not become frustrated when he was relegated to bench duty, since he thought it would help the team win. He said he would do anything he could to “contribute to [the team] winning games” and said, “I thought … coming off the bench would help a lot more [than starting].” Small was put back into the starting lineup Feb. 13 at then-No.21 Carnegie Mellon University. He helped guide the Judges to a 3-point victory and turn a miniature twogame losing streak into a six-game winning streak in the NCAA Tournament. A second-team All-University Athletic Association selection last year who said he models his game off Portland Trailblazers guard Brandon Roy, Small comes into this season as the team’s top returning scorer. Small averaged 11.5 points per game overall last season. He scored in double figures in 16 of the 26 games he appeared in, including a 24-point game in a 108-78 victory over Case Western Reserve University. Despite his impressive ability to score, Small knows that he and the team do not have to rely solely on his individual offensive talents to be successful. “I don’t have to go out there and think I am a one-man show,” Small said. “This team is really deep. ... We really have a gel team. This team has been together for a couple of years. You have me, [forward Terrell Hollins ’10, guard Andre Roberson ’10], a lot of older guys. ... We have a lot of impact players and impact scorers who can make plays.” Meehan still expects Small to contribute extensively to all facets of the game. “We want to see a little more [of] what he did last year,” Meehan said. “He started to become very consistent, and game in and game out, we knew what we were going to get out of him. We look for him to score; we look for him to really defend well.” Small came onto the scene back as a rookie in the 2006 to 2007 season in which he averaged 11.7 minutes per game in 21 contests. Despite scoring only 5.7 points per game, Small scored 12 points in 7 minutes in his second collegiate game against Springfield College. Meehan has been impressed with Small ever since he and his staff recruited him. “We saw him prior to his coming to Brandeis,” Meehan said. “When we were recruiting, we went down, saw him and identified him as a kid with a lot of basketball talent.” After his rookie campaign, Small struggled in the first semester of his sophomore season and was forced to take a leave from the team because he was academically ineligible to
Senior 6’7” Center Captain Magee is second Minutes: 15.7 among returning Points: 3.2 players in re- Rebounds: 3.2 bounds after pulling down an average 3.2 rebounds per game last season. He led the team in rebounds six times last season, which tied Hollins for first among returning players.
Gieschen was a Minutes: 6.1 key part of the Points: 2.0 Judges’ strong Rebounds: 0.9 bench play last season. Despite playing behind two All-UAA forwards last season, Cassidy Dadaos ’09 and Lauren Orlando ’09, Gieschen had strong contributions in several games.
5 CHRISTIAN YEMGA
22 LAUREN RASHFORD
Junior 6’5” Forward
DAVID SHEPPARD-BRICK/Justice File Photo
play. He appeared for only 67 minutes in 14 of the team’s 29 games after rejoining the team in the spring. Although it took Small time to get back into the rotation regularly, he was still committed to the team.“I still tried to work hard in practice and get myself better for next season,” Small said. Despite these setbacks, Meehan noted that Small has improved each year, especially on defense. “Every year, [Small has] gotten better and better and a little bit more serious,” Meehan said. “He was always a very good offensive player, but like most kids, the real challenge coming from high school to college is playing defense. Last year, [Small] became a very, very good defender.” As a senior playing in his last season for Brandeis, Small is ready for the season to start. He wants the team to advance farther in the NCAA Tournament than it did last year, when it reached the second round and lost to Franklin & Mar-
shall College 65-63. In order to win a national championship, Small believes that everyone on the team needs to stay focused and compete each and every night. “This year we need to stay motivated [and] keep at it at practice,” Small said. “[We have to keep on] pushing each other [and] playing with intensity.” As an individual, Small does not care about his own statistics nearly as much as he does about wins for the team. “I just want to win games,” he said. “I’ve never really been a person [concerned] with individual stats. ... It’s being a leader out there as much as I can [with] my [teammates] following, but I want to learn from my [teammates], too.” Small and his teammates will get their first chance at taking a step toward their ultimate goal when they open the season tonight at home against Lasell College at 7 p.m., hoping to come through on their large expectations.
Senior 5’6” Guard
Yemga star ted Minutes: 20.2 the first 17 Points: 4.1 games of last Rebounds: 2.8 season and played in all but three, leading the team in shooting percentage at 55.7 percent. Last season, he scored in double figures three times.
Despite missing Minutes: 26.1 almost half of last Points: 8.2 season due to in- Rebounds: 4.2 jury, Rashford’s play during the first half of the 2008 to 2009 campaign was integral to the Judges’ fast start last season. Rashford went down with a major knee injury during a team practice.
1 ANDRE ROBERSON
15 DIANA CINCOTTA
Senior 5’9” Guard
SLAM DUNK: Guard Kenny Small ’10 dunks the ball in a Feb. 20 65-54 home win last season over Emory University. Small scored a game-high 18 points that day.
Senior 6’1” Center Captain
Senior 5’7” Guard
Roberson is com- Minutes: 32.5 ing off a strong Points: 10.3 season in which Assists: 4.9 he was fourth in the UAA in assists and second in steals. Roberson also finished fifth in the UAA in free-throw percentage, shooting 79 percent from the line He started 26 out of 27 games.
Last year, Cin- Minutes: 26.4 cotta earned hon- Points: 6.9 orable mention Assists: 2.3 all-UAA honors. She started 27 of 28 games last year as a sophomore and finished second on the team with 62 assists. She hit an impressive 31 three-pointers last year.
11 TYRONE HUGHES
14 CARMELA BRESLIN
Sophomore 5’9” Guard
Hughes looks to Minutes: 12.8 play a bigger role Points: 2.9 this year after Assists: 1.0 being the only rookie to play in all 27 games last season. He averaged nearly 13 points per game as a starter including setting a career high with 14 points against WashU.
Senior 5’7” Guard
Breslin set a Minutes: 10.5 school record Points: 4.4 last season with Assists: 1.1 a 47.6 shooting percentage from behind the threepoint line. She enters the season as the team’s all-time leader in three-point percentage at 44.7 and is ninth with 49 career threes.
Compiled by Jeffrey Boxer and Max Goldstein with last season’s avg. stats. Photos courtesy of Adam Levin.
Published on Nov 17, 2009