Drexel Basketball 2010-11 Preview Issue
The men look to follow an 11-7 CAA campaign; the women prepare for the post-Marginean era
Issue date: 11/12/10 Section: Sports
Last year the Dragons had an 11-7 conference record, and made an appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament once again. Unfortunately, the Dragons ended their run in the postseason with a devastating quarterfinal loss to Delaware in overtime.
The result against Delaware wasn't the only big loss they experienced; the Dragons' all-time leading scorer, Gabriela Marginean, finished her impressive career at Drexel. Though Marginean was a key component of the team, the ladies have many other talented players who have trained hard and are expecting a successful season.
Junior forward Tyler Hale has high hopes for a triumphant year.
"Of course everyone's expectation is to win another CAA championship," Hale said. "The biggest factor is stepping on the court and playing every game like it's your last, and keeping the support that we have from all our fans."
Hale had an impressive 2009-10 year. She earned Honorable Mention Academic All-Conference recognition while playing in 31 games with 28 starts on the season. She also led the team in blocks while being ranked third in steals and rebounding (125) and ranked second in offensive boards (52). Even though Hale is currently tending to a knee injury, she is certainly a player to look out for as soon as she hits the court.
Among other returning starters is junior guard Kamile Nacickaite. Nacickaite started in 28 games and was the team's second leading scorer behind Marginean during the 2009-10 season. Among her many accolades, she pulled 134 rebounds and was named PhillyCollegeSports.com All-Women's Div. 1 team.
Junior guard Marisa Crane is also a returning starter with a lot to prove this season. Last year she was named to CAA All-Academic First Team. She also led the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio and was ranked fourth in the conference for assists per game. Finally, she played in all 31 games with 30 starts as point guard, and led the CAA in minutes played, averaging 38.1 minutes per game.
The final returning starter Jasmina Rosseel is the lone senior on the team. Although Jasmina is limited in playing time due to a lingering knee injury, she still supports her team from the sidelines.
"I think with the experience I have had, people really listen to me with what I have to say," Rosseel said. "I am always trying to get involved by encouraging my teammates on the sidelines even when I am not playing."
As shooting guard, Rosseel led the team with 64 three-pointers and was ranked third in scoring for the 2009-10 season. She was also named Honorable Mention CAA All-Academic team.
While the Dragons have a strong lineup of returning players, they also have a notable addition to their roster. Transfer student Nicole Jones has come from the University of Massachusetts to become a Lady Dragon. As a Minuteman, she played in all 30 games and started in 17. She also led her team with 41 blocks and was ranked fourth in scoring and rebounding.
Although Jones will not be eligible to play until the 2011-12 season, she is a talented player who has a lot to bring to the table.
Drexel's team is not only comprised of gifted athletes, but it is also run by hard-working and incredible coaches.
"The coaching staff is great, I really love them," Rosseel said. "I think they expect a lot from us, and I think that's what we need. We want to be pushed every practice and every game, and they do that; they do a great job in trying to improve us as individuals and then as a team."
Head coach Denise Dillon has scheduled an extremely difficult lineup in hopes to prepare the Dragons for their fierce CAA competition.
With challenging non-conference opponents such as Penn State, Tulsa, Villanova and others within weeks of the season's start, Drexel has to bring their A-game from the get-go.
"It's going to be hard, but like I said, you're in it for the war," Hale said. "You have the battles to fight through and the championship is the war; you have to win it, you have to want it, and you have to want to win it."
With optimism and dedication, the Dragons will be strong contenders for the postseason.
Drexel was picked to complete their 2010-11 season in sixth place by a preseason poll of the league's women's basketball coaches and media members.
Nacickaite was chosen as an Honorable Mention Preseason All-Conference player and James Madison's Dawn Evans and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne were picked as Co-Preseason Players of the Year.
Drexel will begin their season Nov. 16 at rival La Salle.