Just like last week, here’s my predictions and key players to watch, but for the women’s side of the MAAC.
1. Marist (26-7, 18-0 MAAC)
Player to watch: Leanne Ockenden
Ockenden, who was the 2012-13 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, finished in the top-15 of numerous statistical categories, including points (8.7 pg), assists (2.4 pg), steals (2 pg) and 3-point field goals made (51). The 5-10 guard scored in double figures 13 times last season, helping the Red Foxes to a perfect MAAC record.
2. Iona (20-13, 13-5 MAAC)
Player to watch: Damika Martinez
Iona is returning all five starters from last season’s second-place MAAC finish, but none will make as big of an impact as 2012-13 MAAC Player of the Year Martinez. The 5-7 guard finished atop the conference with 18.1 ppg and 598 total points, approximately 100 points more than any other player in the MAAC.
3. Quinnipiac (30-3, 18-0 NEC)
Player to watch: Brittany McQuain
The 5-11 forward finished 14th in the NEC with 11.2 ppg, while also adding 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. McQuain started all 33 games for the Bobcats last season, who won the NEC title and clinched an NCAA berth.
4. Rider (15-15, 10-8 MAAC)
Player to watch: MyNeshia McKenzie
McKenzie, a First Team All-MAAC selection in 2012-13, finished fourth in the MAAC with 14.2 ppg, second in rebounding with 9.8 and eighth in steals with 1.9 per game. The 6-0 guard led the Broncs in scoring, rebounding, assists and minutes last season.
5. Fairfield (18-14, 11-7 MAAC)
Player to watch: Katie Cizynski
Cizynski, the Stags top scorer, finished the season with 11.9 ppg, good for 11th in the MAAC, while also rounding out the top five in rebounding with 8.4 per contest. Fairfield will need the veteran leadership of Cizynski if they want to advance further than the MAAC quarterfinals.
6. Siena (13-18, 8-10 MAAC)
Player to watch: Tehresa Coles
The 5-9 guard is the top-returning scorer for Siena with 9.1 ppg also finishing second in the MAAC with 2.9 steals per game. Coles will need to step up to replace the production of Lily Grenci, ’13, who led Siena in nearly every statistical category.
7. Canisius (12-19, 8-10 MAAC)
Player to watch: Jamie Ruttle
Ruttle appeared in 30 games last season while averaging a respectable 8.8 ppg, and 4.7 rebounds per game. The 2013-14 Preseason All-MAAC Third Team selection scored in double figures 11 times last season and had three double-doubles.
8. Monmouth (15-15, 12-6 NEC)
Player to watch: Chevannah Paalvast
The 6-0 guard from Auckland, New Zealand is the top-returning scorer for Monmouth, averaging 11 ppg, grabbing 4.9 rebounds per contest and dishing out 1.4 assists. Paalvast reached the free-throw line 105 times last season, but was only able to connect on 57% from the charity stripe. She will need to improve those numbers this season.
9. Niagara (15-16, 9-9 MAAC)
Player to watch: Meghan McGuiness
The top-returning scorer for the Purple Eagles finished 19th in the MAAC with 9.6 ppg. The 5-10 guard proved more than comfortable beyond the arc last season, finishing fourth in the conference with 57 3-point field goals made and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.354).
10. Manhattan (8-23, 4-14 MAAC)
Player to watch: Monica Roeder
A 2012-13 All-MAAC Third Team selection led the Jaspers with 12.1 ppg last season, good for ninth in the MAAC. Roeder also placed third in the conference in 3-point field goals made (63) and 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (.332).
11. St. Peter’s (2-28, 2-16 MAAC)
Player to watch: Kristal Edwards
Edwards was a bright stop for the otherwise irrelevant Peacocks in the 2012-13 season. The guard finished sixth in the MAAC with 13.2 ppg, grabbed five rebounds per contest and led the MAAC with three steals per game.