Oct 17, 2011, 10:02 PM EST
Coach: Karen Barefoot
Last year: 20-11,14-4 CAA
Who’s missing: Head coach Wendy Larry and her 600-plus victories and 17 CAA titles, guard Jasmine Parker (11.8 ppg, CAA Defensive Player of the Year), guard Kquanise Byrd (8.5 ppg), guard/forward Shadasia Green (7.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg), forward Alena “Russia” Voronina (11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg).
What’s new: Barefoot’s enthusiasm and energy, four freshmen and potential impact sophomore guard Michelle Brandao, a fixture on Portugal’s junior national teams the past three years.
The headliner: Gifted redshirt senior forward Tia Lewis (12.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg), a third-team All-CAA performer last season.
We’d like to see more from: Junior guards Jackie Cook and Jo Guilford, talented performers whose careers appeared to stagnate last season.
Welcome back: Redshirt junior Mairi Buchan, a potential Olympian for Great Britain who missed all of 2010-11 with foot issues.
The challenge: To build on the considerable foundation Larry laid and work their way back to the school’s stated goal of being a perennial Top 25 team.
We like their chances if: Some of the returners step up in support of Lewis, Brandao can solidify the point guard slot and Barefoot, a former ODU assistant, can provide the kind of spark she delivered at her last stop, Elon.
Sexy non-conference matchup: at Tennessee, Dec. 28 – The latest installment in this long-running, albeit one-sided, series. The Lady Vols have won the last 15 meetings.
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