When the 2009-10 Franklin & Marshall women's basketball team takes the court, fans at the Mayser Center will see a lot of new faces. Gone is Cara Landolfi who turned in six double-doubles, and Amanda Miceli who scored in double-digits in eight games. Also gone is one of the most decorated players in F&M history, Sarah Meisenberg.
What fans will see is coach Ashlee Courter courtside for her fourth season. All Courter has done since taking over is lead the Diplomats to two Centennial Conference playoffs berths, including a second place finish in 2007-08, and a 36-19 record over the past two seasons.
Last year, one of the tightest regular seasons in Centennial history, ended with F&M in the Centennial Conference Championship Semifinals. F&M won eight of the last 11 conference games and pieced together a five-game winning streak late in the season to wrap up the campaign with a 14-12 record.
Courter will not let losing three starters become a negative factor this season.
"We have set high expectations for the season ahead. The program has come a long way in the last three years and we are determined to continue to contend for the conference title," Courter says of the season.
The Diplomats will return two starters from last year's squad. Junior Beth Holt and sophomore Megan Pauley return at guard. Holt started in 17 games averaging almost 33 minutes. She averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 assists a game last year. Pauley started 14 of the 19 games she played in, averaging 27.6 minutes per contest. Pauley gave F&M 7.1 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
Sophomore guard Allison Bauer and junior center Alison Menna will bring a wealth of experience, averaging quality minutes for the Diplomats last season. Bauer came off the bench last year and averaged 22.3 minutes while Menna contributed 12.9 minutes. Bauer scored 4.3 points per game and stole 23 balls. Menna chipped in 3.6 ppg and pulled down 3.3 rebounds per contest.
Junior Amy Chabitnoy will see time at forward. Chabitnoy averaged 9.9 minutes and 2.7 points last year. Also returning is guard Kate Shaffer and post Emily Johnson.
Courter was busy on the recruiting trail this offseason, bringing in six new faces.
"We brought in a solid freshmen class. Each player brings something different to the court, which will contribute to the team's success as the season progresses," Courter says of her freshmen class. "All of them are demonstrating a strong understanding of the game, giving us more options than in previous seasons. They have already made an obvious impact in the competiveness at practice."
The Diplomats bring in two points guard, Alexa Barbush and Shelly Montagana. Barbush was a four-year starter at Trinity (Pa.) with 865 career points and was ranked in the Max Prep's top 100 in steals and assists. Montagana is the second most prolific scorer in New Providence's history with 1,342 points. She earned New Jersey third-team All-State recognition as a junior and a senior.
Two players come in at the guard position, Veronica Kresse and Liz Snyder. Kresse led Quince Orchard to the Maryland 4A West Region Finals and is the seventh highest score in the school's history. Snyder averaged 12 ppg and 5 assists at Cranford. Both should contribute valuable minutes this season.
The Diplomats also bring in two players at forward, Collen Bott and Tracy Hahn. Bott was a four-year starter at Villa Walsh Academy (N.J.) and the all-time leading scorer in the school's history with 1,320 points. She was a first team all-conference as a sophomore, junior and senior. Hahn comes to F&M from Trumbull, Connecticut. She averaged nine points and nine rebounds her senior year.
"We are a young squad, however our returners are setting positive examples and the newcomers are catching on quickly to the system," comments Courter. "We still have a long way to go but I have been pleased with work ethic and attitudes they displayed at practice."
The Diplomats open the 2009-10 campaign November 21st when they host Goucher in the first round of the F&M Tip-Off tournament. Their first CC game is against Ursinus on December 3rd.
All basketball home games will be broadcasted live on B2 Networks, F&M's broadband partner on the web. Local sports newscasters Mike Straub from WGAL Channel 8 will announce six of the women's home games. Season packages are available now on the B2 Network website.