BOSTON, Mass. - The Simmons College women's basketball team is looking to turn some heads in the 2014-15 season. The Sharks are hoping to be very competitive in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference this year.
The Simmons women's basketball team has been growing as any young team would and its rookies, who are now sophomores, look ready to make significant contributions, while its upperclassmen hope to guide the team with their experience. Rookies from a year ago, who made solid contributions are now primed and ready to enjoy breakout years in their second respective seasons. The Sharks will also look to their first year players to make solid contributions and vie for important minutes on the court.
The Simmons post players should challenge opposing front court defenders by not only being able to produce in the blocks, but also extend into the high post and into the perimeter. The Sharks should be difficult to defend due to their versatiliy and ability to play both inside and outside. Defensively, Simmons has a good group of forwards, who can rebound the basketball and also control the offensive glass.
Sophomore Tri-Captain Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) leads a young front court with very good potential. Brasa is the epitome of what the Sharks front court can be this season. The versatile post player can score inside, but is a dangerous threat from just inside the perimeter with a lethal mid-range jumper as well. The starting forward is looking to extend her shooting range and is also an excellent rebounder for Simmons. She logged the most minutes on the team and was the only player to start every game last year and should be ready to be a main cog in the team's success this season.
Junior Nicole Alberghini (Northborough, Mass.) is one of the team's best instinctive rebounders with a knack for reading the ball off the rim and is very effective on the offensive glass to give the Sharks second-chance opportunities. She runs the floor well and is fundamentally sound in the blocks with the ability to post up or find the open player from the post. Sophomore Ashley McAdams (Freeport, N.Y.) gives Simmons another quality rebounder down low. The forward is very strong in the paint and thrives on the inside with the ability to rebound the basketball. McAdams, who should see starting minutes, is a heady player, who can read the double-team in the post and distribute the basketball. The second-year player will give opponents different looks with the ability to score with her back to the basket, driving the lane from the high post or even shoot from the perimeter. First year Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) should see time right away for the Sharks and will vie for a spot in the starting lineup. The rookie has great potential and high endurance with the ability to run the floor for 40 minutes. She handles the ball well and is quick off the dribble, while also being able to rebound in the paint. Sophomore Katherine Kroeger (Hollis, N.H.) will provide depth in the front court after a great pre-season that showed dramatic improvement of her defensive game from last season. She's also made strides in her offense and has expanded what she can do.
Junior Gracie Rolfe (Newton, Mass.) has spent the last two seasons mixing it up in the post, but will be able to settle into her natural small forward position this year. Rolfe should be able to take advantage of her ability to defend backcourt players, while contributing on the offensive end with a polished outsite shot. The swing player comes off screens well and will look to provide offense off the bench for Simmons. First year Casey Halle (Watertown, Mass.) is an outstanding athlete, who provides a strong presence for the Sharks. The versatile forward could see time in the post to make the most of her ability to box out and rebound or in the backcourt, where her physical style of defense should help to slow down opposing backcourts. The rookie will look to improve her offense as a valuable role player for Simmons. Fellow first year Celina Jones (Milford, Mass.) is a high-energy player with an outstanding work ethic. The wing player should make an impact on defense and is working hard to improve her offense for the Sharks.
The Simmons backcourt will get signficant contributions from all of its guards. The Sharks have a trio of sophomores returning along with a junior to lock down the perimeter.
Junior shooting guard Jennifer Janiak (Chelmsford, Mass.) showed flashes of her potential to be a legitimate scorer last year and is looking to build on that for 2014-15. The Tri-Captain is a pure shooter and should provide Simmons with a major weapon from the outside as evidenced by a team-high 40 made three-pointers last year. She's also lookign to become more of a threat by penetrating in the paint, while becoming a better defender on the other end of the floor. Fellow Captain Kimberlee Hixon (Taunton, Mass.) comes into the season with an injury, but should be a major contributor with an eye on cracking the starting lineup in the second half of the season. The swing player is very aggressive from the wing and attacks the defense with the basketball. The sophomore has also worked hard to improve her shooting range to add to her offensive game. Sophomore Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) will see the majority of her time at the point, but can also serve as a two-guard for the Sharks. The dynamic guard sees the floor really well and performs well under pressure. A feisty defender, she will be counted on to either distribute the basketball or score, based on what the team needs her to do. Classmate Kelsey Heavener (Stafford Springs, Conn.) will also have some point guard duties. The guard has worked hard on her offense and should see increased minutes this season to take advantage of an improved outside shot. As one of the team's quickest guards, she'll also be a key on the defensive end for Simmons.
Despite being a young team, the Sharks will look to make a developmental jump this season with an uptempo offense and an emphasis on defending the basketball.