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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

MU women's preview for Thursday Press and update/ Marisa Jimenez has gall bladder surgery..will be out about two weeks


WEST LONG BRANCH - Seniorities is considered a plus this year for the Monmouth University women's basketball team.
For the first time since five seniors started the last game of the 2000-2001 season, and after having just one of significance play each of the last two years, Monmouth will suit up five for 2007-2008.

""It's an exciting time,'' said coach Michele Baxter whose 2006-2007 team (18-13, 10-8 Northeast Conference) made it to the semifinals of the NEC Tournament for the first time since bowing in the 2004 title game to St. Francis, Pa.
""We've really spent a couple of years with a limited amount of seniors,'' said Baxter. ""It's tough when you had so many young kids and not a large senior class in front of them.''

But when Monmouth takes the floor in its 2007-2008 opener Friday at Rider, seniors including center Lindsey Zegowitz, forward/guard Veronica Randolph, point guard Brianne Edwards, and guard Nyaimah Ware will have three years of substantial playing time in their resume.

Edwards, recovering from off season knee surgery, and junior guard Marisa Jimenez (gall bladder surgery a few days ago) aren't expected to take the court until around Thanksgiving.
A fifth senior, guard Kim McCloskey, has played sparingly.

The seniors are backed by a strong group of five juniors including junior college transfer point guard Marbely Montas, named a 2006-2007 All-America at Union County College.

This is a program that, after vacillating between third and fourth place in the NEC regular season standings since 2001-2002, appears ready to make a run at an NEC title.

Monmouth has not won the NEC Tournament since 1987 when one of the last of former coach Mickey McGlade's juggernauts went 23-6.

""It's kind of like we all have a sense of urgency, that this is it, this is our last chance to win together,'' Zegowitz said. ""We have a lot of upperclassmen this year, this is a veteran team.''
""Last year we thought we were a good enough team (to win the championship),'' said Randolph.

But three losses to eventual champion Sacred Heart doomed Monmouth. They were games in which Monmouth allowed late leads to slip away including the NEC Tournament semifinal.
""This year the core of the team is seniors, the group that we've put together to try and win the championship,'' Randolph said.

""This year the senior class, with a junior class that is just as good as we are, should be an advantage for us.''

Zegowitz said when she first arrived at Monmouth she was told her four years would fly by. """I was like, "No, that's not true, it'll never happen,' '' she said. ""Now I cannot believe we're seniors, it happened so fast.''
""Seriously, I feel like last year I was a freshman,'' Randolph said. ""Coming back in the summer time it was like, "I can't believe this will be my last year. It just went by too fast.''

Edwards said a lot of people last year asked her if she was a senior. ""They were like, "It seems like you've been here forever,' '' Edwards said. ""It's true. We have been here for a while. We've formed great bonds.

""This is my last year. I do want to go away with a ring, something to remember Monmouth by in a good way.''

A fifth place pick in the NEC Coaches Preseason Poll surprised the Hawks. ""We were disappointed (in the ranking),'' said Randolph.

""Hopefully this will be a breakout season for us. This is what we're looking for.'
""We have to come ready, we have to prepare,'' Zegowitz said. ""It starts now.''

MONMOUTH SEASON OUTLOOK: Even with their health issues Hawks, with seasoned talent and depth, appear to have their most realistic shot in years to win a championship, barring any more health-related problems. In what could be a battle to the wire defending NEC Tournament champion Robert Morris, 2006-2007 regular season winner LIU, and Quinnipiac loom as the most serious threats to the end of Monmouth's long title drought.
- Tony Graham

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Blogger Alvin said...

Very nice article. GO LADY HAWKS!!!
One of the people in my office building knows the Freshman Keeper and thinks the world of her, seems she has made a solid contribution to the team as expected. I don't know a lot about the team but they seem to have the same sense of commaraderie with each other regardless of seniority on the team that he men have.
Chemistry has as much to do with goals as physical condition.
Win or loose tomorrow they have a season to be very proud of.

3:04 PM, November 08, 2007  

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