Women’s Basketball: Rebuilding time
When the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team lost to Monmouth in the first round of the NEC tournament last year, it marked the last time Erin Kerner took the court in a Bobcats’ uniform. According to head coach Tricia Fabbri, the loss of Quinnipiac’s all-time leading scorer is not going to be easily overcome.
“I do think we’re a work in progress,” Fabbri said of her team, which was picked to finish fifth out of 12 teams in the NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. “We’re really quick and really athletic. Though, the one thing that we need to work on is the defense. It needs to come a little quicker.”
The Bobcats went 18-11 overall last year, good for third in the conference. In addition to Kerner, they also graduated starters Mandy Pennewell and Brianna Rooney. Combined, the trio scored more than half of Quinnipiac’s points last season, and more than 3,500 combined points in their respective careers.
One player that Fabbri is excited about getting back is Felicia Barron. Barron, who was injured for most of last year’s season, will still have all four years of eligibility when she takes the court this season.
“We’ve moved on with [Barron] as our floor general,” Fabbri said.
Along with Barron, freshman Lisa Lebak will shoulder some of the load at point guard. Lebak is one of the players whom Fabbri brought in to combat the losses of Kerner, Pennewell and Rooney.
“Both [Lebak] and [Barron] are players who have grown, and will continue to grow, into leadership roles this season,” Fabbri said.
Courtney Kaminski was also hurt for the entirety of last season, but Fabbri feels she could make a legitimate impact on this year’s team.
“Not only is she a 6-foot-3-inch presence inside, but she can also shoot the three,” Fabbri said of the senior.
In total, the Bobcats brought in four freshmen this season. Of those players, Fabbri thinks the one to look out for is 5-foot-9-inch guard Ryann Simmons.
“She’s a really great player who could make a huge impact right away,” Fabbri said. “She’s really an explosive player.”
Before coming to Quinnipiac, Simmons led Kolbe Cathedral High School to a 24-1 overall record and the Connecticut Class L Championship. She averaged 14.2 points, nearly four rebounds, and three steals per game during her senior year. She also earned All-Southwest Conference that year, in which she scored her 1,000th career point.
Another freshman who Fabbri is excited about is Shelby Sferra. Sferra had a standout high school career at Ursuline School, earning all-academic, all-section, and all-league honors throughout her time there. She was named captain her junior year and led the team in points per game with 17.6, and rebounds per game with 12.
Fabbri feels that this team will take on a different look than years past.
“We’re more slow on the defensive concept than the offensive, which is funny, because I thought it would be the opposite,” Fabbri said. “Offensively, we’ve added more secondary looks rather than just scoring on the transition.”
It remains to be seen whether the Bobcats will be able to recoup from the loss of their top three scorers, but Fabbri isn’t terribly worried just yet.
“The loss of those players is huge, no doubt about it,” Fabbri said. “But we’re very talented, and we have good depth.”