Boston, MA- The Women's Basketball program is coming off the most successful season in program history having finished the season with 19 wins, while also winning their first ever NIAC Championship in 2018-19. Third-year Coach Jesse Ford and his squad are looking to continue that success as they tip off their season this weekend at Bryant & Stratton-Buffalo, playing both the host Buffalo and Rochester. "We are excited about the experience of the returners. We have 10 players rostered that have played in an AII Tournament game which will be key to returning to the AII Conference Championships," said Coach Ford.
The Lady Falcons are led by a senior class of six; Jenny-Lynn Eggers (Sonoma, CA), Vivian Lara (Norwalk, CA), and Piper Mali (Oro Valley, AZ) were regular starters in the 2018-19 campaign and contributors to the successful season. Lara was voted to the First Team All-Conference team as well as the AII Co-Defensive Player of the Year. She finished the season averaging 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, both team highs. Lara also led the team in steals (80) and assists (75). Eggers finished last season third on the team in scoring (10.7 ppg) and led the team in offensive rebounds (89), while Mali finished second on the team in assists (68). Meghan Case (Sacramento, CA) and Jameela Olivo (Hyde Park, MA) did not play last season due to injury but are looking forward to contributing again this season. Lastly to round out the senior class is forward Angel Bernardi (Cloverdale, CA), a transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College.
The junior class is made up of five guards; Lauren Allen (Long Beach, CA), Choon-Hee Chae (Kyle, TX), Nia Jordan (Washington, DC), Meghan Menzel (Big Rock, IL), and Jennifer Rosales (Morgan Hill, CA). Chae was a Second-Team All-Conference player as a freshman, but missed most of her sophomore season so is excited to be back on the floor. Allen, Menzel and Rosales are all junior college transfers who played for their previous institutions and will look to contribute as Falcons this upcoming season.
Shaniah Hazard (Providence, RI) and Misha O'Neal (Tampa, FL) make up the sophomore class. Both are guards who have explosive speed and great ball handling skills to help lead the offense. Hazard is primarily a point guard who finished her rookie campaign third on the team in assists (67), while O'Neal and Hazard combined for 64 steals last year. Madison Kellley (Moosup, CT) is the lone freshman for the Falcons this season and will look to use her strength and size under the basket for Coach Ford's squad.
The Falcons face a competitive schedule this season as they play host to Eastern Oregon on November 16th who is currently nationally ranked 8th in the NAIA, as well as a trip to take on the NCAA Division I Merrimack Warriors on December 4th. The team will also face strong NCAA Division III competitors around New England to include MIT, Emerson and Wheaton College. A key matchup will be the two contests against AII Conference rival Washington Adventist, also a playoff team in the 2018-19 campaign.
"It's clear to me that this group has some large goals and plans for this season. With our talent level, I think they have a good reason to have high expectations. But what's even more promising is the way we can challenge each other in practice. The exciting part to me is seeing how our competitive nature leads to visible improvements every single day on the court," said Coach Ford.
The team will open up their season currently ranked 3rd in the AII Preseason Rankings. The first test will be Saturday at 5pm when they take on the BSC-Buffalo Bobcats at 5pm.