BOSTON – The Suffolk women's basketball team is projected to finish fifth by a vote by the league's 13 head coaches in the GNAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced Monday.
Entering the 24th season in the Ed Leyden era, the Rams picked up 111 points to round out the top five in the poll. Reigning GNAC Champion Saint Joseph's (Maine) is selected to repeat as conference champion with 162 points thanks to nine first-place votes. Emmanuel and Johnson & Wales come in second and third, respectively, with the Saints and Wildcats each receiving a pair of first-place nods. League newcomer Regis was two points ahead of Suffolk with 113 to take fourth.
The Rams bring back five letterwinners from last year's squad that finished with the most victories against conference competition (12-4) since joining the GNAC ranks in 1995 and their 23rd consecutive GNAC postseason appearance. Suffolk wrapped up 2016-17 17-9 overall and put together its longest win streak (eight games) since matching that number Jan. 17-Feb. 5, 2011.
Headline the returners are senior co-captains Georgia Bourikas and Alexandra Nagri. Bourikas is back on the hardwood in Beacon Hill after a career campaign, posting career numbers in field goal percentage (39.3), three-point percentage (41.5), rebounds (5.4 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and blocks (0.5 bpg). She racked up double figures in 13 games, pacing the Rams in scoring six times and record her first and only collegiate double-double, an 11-point, 11-carom effort in a 61-50 win over Lasell, Feb. 2, 2017, to lead Suffolk's offense with 10.3 ppg. Nagri, meanwhile, has been a constant in the Rams lineup for the past two seasons and looks to improve upon her 7.5 ppg and 2.0 apg from last season.
Hackett is back for her second season at Suffolk coming off a GNAC Rookie of the Year campaign a year ago. The first-ever Ram to take home the league's best rookie status garnered a program-record six GNAC Corvias Rookie of the Week awards and was named the best rookie over a seven day stretch by the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) twice. She looks to improve upon her 8.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg contribution from a year ago.
Leyden brought in six true freshmen; Mya Blazejowski, Gabriella DeComo, Jenni-Rose DiCecco, Jordan Hipwell, Stephanie Langlais and Rachel LaSaracina. The Class of 2021 looks to make an immediate impact.
Suffolk will lift the lid on its 35th season at Salve Regina Wednesday, Nov. 15. The Rams, who open their campaign away from home for the seventh campaign, face the Seahawks at 7 p.m. at the Rodgers Recreation Center.
|2017-18 GNAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL|
1. St. Joseph's (Maine)
3. Johnson & Wales
7. Albertus Magnus
10. St. Joseph (Conn.)
11. Anna Maria
13. Mount Ida