With basketball season set to begin this weekend, it’s time to look at the in-conference competition for the Owls, as Tonya Cardoza’s squad prepares for the 2008-2009 campaign. The teams are listed in order of their predicted finish.
The Musketeers went 24-9 in 2007-2008, including a conference tournament title and a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They return three double-digit scorers for the 2008-2009 campaign, including sophomore center Ta’Shia Phillips.
2. George Washington
The Colonials come off a solid 2007-2008 season that saw them go 27-7 and last into the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. Key scorers senior center Jessica Adair and senior guard/forward Antelia Parrish are back.
The 49ers went 18-14 last season and bowed out in the second round of the Atlantic Ten Conference Tournament. They return two of their three leading scorers, including senior forward/center Danielle Burgin, who led the team with 10.8 points per game.
Dawn Staley, Lady Comfort and Ashley Morris leave a successful Owls team that went 21-13 in 2007-2008. Last season, they lost to Xavier in the A-10 Tournament finals and to Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Spiders lost to Temple in the second round of the A-10 Tournament last March to end their season. They went 14-17 last season and will return two double-digit scorers in 2008-2009.
6. Saint Joseph’s
Last year’s 17-14 Hawks return sophomore center Sarah Acker, who led the team with 11.9 points per game in 2007-2008.
7. St. Bonaventure
The Bonnies went 18-12 in 2007-2008 and return junior forward Dana Mitchell and her 18.1 points per game in 2008-2009. They went 6-8 in A-10 play after going 12-4 in non-conference action.
Senior guard Kristi Little leads the Dukes into 2008-2009 after averaging 16.3 points per game and 6.1 assists per game as a junior in 2008-2009. Duquesne went 15-15 and lost in the first round of the A-10 Tournament last season.
The Flyers finished 25-9 in 2007-2008 and made it to the A-10 Tournament semifinals before being eliminated by Temple. The Flyers also appeared in the NIT Tournament. They lost much of their high-powered offense last year when seven seniors graduated.
10. Saint Louis
The 10-20 Billikens lost in the first round of the A-10 Tournament last season, however, they return three double-digit scorers in 2008-2009, including junior guard Theresa Lisch, who averaged 16.7 points per game in 2007-2008.
11. Rhode Island
The Rams went 13-18 in 2007-2008, with a second round loss to George Washington ending their campaign. They also lost their leading scorer Safi Mojdi from last year’s squad.
Massachusetts went 13-17 and lost to Dayton in the first round of the A-10 Tournament last season. They will be without two 15-plus point per game scorers in 2008-2009.
13. La Salle
La Salle went 12-17 last season in a disappointing campaign that saw the Explorers miss conference tournament play. They will also miss the departed Carlene Hightower and her 17.9 points per game in 2008-2009.
Fordham went 0-29 and missed the A-10 Tournament last season. They look to revert back to winning ways in 2008-2009 with sophomore guard Megan Mahoney and her 15.4 points per game in 2007-2008 leading the charge.