PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Ta'Shia Phillips - Xavier
Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit HS
Phillips averaged 18.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in a 2-0 week for the Musketeers ... also shot a blistering 72.7 percent from the floor ... led XU to the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT ... scored 25 points and hauled in 12 rebounds in only 26 minutes of action in Xavier's season-opening 79-49 win on Nov. 14 ... followed with an 11-point, 14-rebound performance in Xavier's 62-59 win at Indiana on Nov. 16 ... now has 20 double-doubles in her career.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Justine Raterman - Dayton
Versailles, Ohio/Versailles HS
Competing against two nationally-ranked teams, Raterman finished the weekend averaging a double-double of 13.0 rebounds and 15.5 points per game ... recorded her first career double-double with 27 points and 15 rebounds against #25/20 Old Dominion on Nov. 16 ... also tied for a game-high four blocks, tallied two steals, and added one assist in the game ... versus #13 Texas she tallied had a game-high 11 rebounds and four points.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
- Sophomore forward Samantha Pollino of Duquesne averaged 15.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game; freshman forward Alex Gensler had 10 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in a 2-0 week for the Dukes
- Massachusetts senior guard Stefanie Gerardot averaged 26.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals in a 1-1 week- scored 29 points against UVM
- Junior guard Theresa Lisch of Saint Louis averaged 24.5 points and 7.0 rebounds- hit the game-winning three-point shot in a win over WMU; freshman guard Alisha Goodwin added 9.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for SLU
- St. Bonaventure senior guard Katelyn Murray averaged 16.5 points and four rebounds per game in a 2-0 week
- Sophomore guard Shannon McCallum of Charlotte recorded her first career double-double (16 pts., 11 rebs.) in a win over USC
- La Salle junior guard Jamie Walsh averaged 15.0 points and 5.5 assists in a 2-0 week for La Salle
- Senior guard Antelia Parrish of George Washington helped GW to a win with a double-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds against UMBC; freshman guard Tara Booker added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Colonials
- Senior forward Shenita Landry had a career-high 17 rebounds with 11 points in a win over Bowling Green
- Dayton sophomore guard Kristin Daugherty averaged 18 points per game against a pair of ranked foes
The A-10 welcomes two new head coaches to the league. Mike Bozeman was named head women's basketball coach at George Washington and Tonya Cardoza is the new head women's coach at Temple. Bozeman, who was an assistant coach at GW the past three seasons, becomes the eighth head coach in the 34-year history of the program, inheriting a squad that advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2007-08. Both first-year head coaches opened their seasons with their first career wins.
PASSING THE BATON
With the departures of 19-year head coach Joe McKeown from George Washington and eight-year head coach Dawn Staley from Temple, St. Bonaventure head coach Jim Crowley is now the longest tenured head women's basketball coach in the A-10, entering his ninth season at the helm of the Bonnies. McKeown left the league as the all-time winningest coach in A-10 history with 441 wins at GW.
For the first time in A-10 history, a pair of teammates ranked first and second in league rebounding on the season. Xavier freshman Ta'Shia Phillips led the league in rebounding with 11.2 boards per game last season while sophomore teammate Amber Harris was second in the league in rebounding with 8.9 rebounds per game. Phillips finished the year ranked sixth nationally in rebounds per game and led the league in double-doubles with 18. She was one of just three freshmen to lead her league in double-doubles on the year.
CHANGING OF THE (POINT) GUARD
For the first time in four years, the A-10 will see a new assist leader in 2008-09. George Washington All-American Kimberly Beck graduated as the second student-athlete in A-10 history to lead the Conference in assists in all four seasons. The most likely candidate to take the lead is senior Kristi Little from Duquesne who ranked second behind Beck with 6.07 assists per game last year. Four others return from last year's top 10. Little is averaging 5.5 assists in two contests.
After capturing its second-straight A-10 Championship and an NCAA bid in 2008, Xavier garnered plenty of preseason recognition as the Musketeers were picked No. 22 in the Associated Press preseason poll and were the first team receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Xavier was also selected as one of the top-16 teams in the country by USA Today, ranked No. 21 in Athlon Magazine and were slotted No. 22 nationally by The Sporting News.
GW IN THE MIX
George Washington is receiving votes in both the Associated Press top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.
INDIVIDUAL PRESEASON HONORS
The Sporting News has selected Xavier junior forward Amber Harris as a member of its preseason All-America second-team while sophomore Ta'Shia Phillips was honored as a third-team pick.
WOODEN AWARD PROSPECTS
George Washington senior center Jessica Adair and sophomore center Ta'Shia Phillips of Xavier have been named as two of 30 student-athletes to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Watch List as announced by the Wooden Award Committee on Wednesday. Phillips is one of only three sophomores to earn a spot on the list. The list is composed of 30 female student athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most coveted trophy.
Saint Joseph's and Dayton weren't wasting any time challenging the top 25. The Hawks were the first A-10 team to face a ranked opponent when they opened their season with an 86-59 loss at #5/3 Rutgers on Nov. 14. Dayton faced both #13 Texas (L, 66-40) and #25/20 Old Dominion (L, 70-58) in the World Vision Classic in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 15-17.
The Hawks had time to gel this summer when they traveled to Madrid, Marbella and Barcelona, August 17 through the 26th and up their Spanish tour with a perfect 4-0 record. Junior guard Amy Gillespie led the team in scoring with 21.8 points per game. Saint Joseph's was chosen by the league coaches in the preseason to finish sixth in the standings.
Head Coach Jim Jabir welcomed his largest ever recruiting class with the addition of seven incoming freshmen. The Flyers welcome De'Sarae Chambers, Patrice Lalor, Kayla Moses, Casey Nance, Justine Raterman and Brittany Wilson to the UD family for the 2008-2009 season. The class was ranked No. 39 nationally by the Blue Star Report. Raterman earned the league's first Rookie of the Week honor (11/17).
EARLY EXITS, EARLY RETURNS
Xavier was dealt a tough blow when junior All-America candidate Amber Harris went down with a knee injury in a preseason practice. The forward is expected to miss three to four months. Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure and La Salle are excited about the recovery of several student-athletes who will return to the floor this season. SBU lost starting point guard Priscilla Edwards to a knee injury to start the 2007-08 season, and despite the injury, posted one of the program's most successful seasons with 18 wins. The Bonnies return nine letterwinners, including all five starters and now have a veteran point guard in Edwards to add to the mix. La Salle was hurt by several injuries last season and looks forward to juniors Tara Lapetina, Antonia Gale and sophomore Chelsea Connor to return to the lineup. The trio missed more than 20 games apiece last season.
Saint Louis begins its first season at the new $80-million on-campus, multipurpose facility, Chaifetz Arena. Meanwhile, the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse on the campus of Saint Joseph's is undergoing some renovations of its own forcing SJU to play one season away from home. The Hawks will host a majority of their home games at the Gallagher Center on the campus of Philadelphia University, but will also host games at the Palestra as well as Drexel University. The Hawks will be back in the new and improved Fieldhouse by 2010.
George Washington enters the season with a 13-game home winning streak ... the Flyers have hit at least one three-point shot in 223 consecutive games dating back to 2001, which leads the A-10 ... Duquesne senior guard Kristi Little has scored in double-figures in 32 consecutive games entering 2008-09.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE
Senior guard Stefanie Gerdardot posted a career-high 29 points in the Massachusetts season-opener versus Vermont (11/14), which was the most points scored by a Minutewomen since Jennifer Butler (`03) had 29 against La Salle on March 6, 2003 ... La Salle had 11 different players see action in a win over Long Island on Nov. 16, which, mainly due to injuries, was the first time since Nov. 14, 2007 that the Explorers had 11 players active ... Richmond's 75-46 win at George Mason (11/16) was the Spiders' most lopsided victory since Nov. 11th, 2005 when Richmond defeated Hampton University, 77-47.
THE 2009 A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP
Charlotte was selected by Conference athletic directors to host the 2009 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship. The Championship, in its 27th season, will tip-off on Friday, March 6 and conclude on Monday, March 9. The top-12 teams in the league qualify for the tournament with four teams receiving first round byes. The quarterfinals will be played on March 7 and the two semifinal matchups will take place on Sunday, March 8 and will be televised by CBS College Sports. The Championship game will be played on Monday, March 9 with the winner receiving the league's automatic berth into the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Xavier is back-to-back defending Atlantic 10 Champions.
The Numbers Game
- Forty-six starters are expected to return for the 2008-09 season. Three schools return all five starters, including defending A-10 Champions Xavier. Two other schools return four starters. Below is a look at who has who back:
5 Fordham, St. Bonaventure, Xavier
4 Saint Joseph's
3 Charlotte, Duquesne, La Salle, Richmond,
Rhode Island, Saint Louis, Temple
2 George Washington, Massachusetts
Six of the Atlantic 10's top 10 scorers from a year ago return, including the league's leading scorer, junior Dana Mitchell of St. Bonaventure (18.1 ppg.). Mitchell was a second-team All-Conference member in 2007-08. Two former rookies ranked in the top 10 with Fordham's Megan Mahoney (15.4 ppg.) ranking sixth and Xavier's Ta'Shia Phillips (14.0 ppg.) finishing tenth. The other returnees include Duquesne senior Kristi Little (16.3 ppg.), who ranked fourth last year, Xavier junior Amber Harris (15.3 ppg.), who finished seventh, and senior Jessica Adair (15.2 ppg.) of George Washington, who ranked ninth.
Seven student-athletes among the top 10 in rebounding return, including the top three finishers. Sophomore Ta'Shia Phillips set a single season school record in rebounding at Xavier (371) when she averaged 11.2 rebounds per game to lead the league. Phillips also led the league with 18 double-doubles. Junior teammate Amber Harris was second on the boards (8.9 rpg.) and sophomore Sarah Acker (8.8 rpg.) of Saint Joseph's was third.
Senior guard Kristi Little from Duquesne is the top returning assists leader (6.07) and ranked second last season behind All-American Kimberly Beck. Four others return from last year's top 10.
Three of the four leaders in field goal percentage were freshmen last season. The top returner is sophomore Sarah Acker (.596) of Saint Joseph's, followed in second by sophomore Ta'Shia Phillips (.594) of Xavier. Sophomore Samantha Pollino (.522) of Duquesne ranked fourth last year.
The top shot blocker returns in the form of Xavier junior Amber Harris (2.79 bpg.). Harris has led the league in blocks since her freshman campaign and averages 3.40 career blocks.
Led by Duquesne senior Kristi Little's 3.33 steals per game, the top two leaders in steals return to the floor this season. Little was the 2008 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Richmond senior Johanna McKnight ranked second last year with 2.16 steals per game