Around the Nation
Back for another season
|The defending champion
FDU-Florham Devils took a blow on the injury front this
FDU-Florham athletics file photo
The celebration of its national title and perfect season officially ended for the FDU-Florham women’s basketball program as soon as this year’s team photo was snapped last Wednesday.
Even though the images of that special season will last forever thanks to social media, the Devils are poised to create more memories despite missing a key component from their championship machine. They realize the road to repeating as national champions will not be easy, but they are prepared for the arduous journey ahead.
The Devils enter the season as the consensus No.1-ranked team in Division III thanks to many key and talented returners from last season’s 33-0 team. FDU-Florham is excited for the preseason attention, but knows it has a target the size of the Atlantic Ocean on its back.
“I really don’t take much into preseason rankings,” FDU coach Marc Mitchell said. “The respect and recognition is nice for our program and university, but we still have to play the games. Clearly everyone didn’t know that our starting post player would be out for the year. But it doesn’t matter. We just want to be No. 1 at the end of March.”
Despite the loss of Rachel Groom, who tore her ACL in a summer league game, the Devils still have plenty of pieces capable of leading them to a repeat this year. The voters actually did know that Groom was injured when casting their preseason ballots.
“Rachel is a huge loss for us,” Mitchell said. “I would tell you that we would win the national championship again, but we know it’s going to be much more difficult. We have great players and a lot of good pieces on this team.”
The Devils featured five battled tested seniors in Kyra Dayon, Kara Dayon, Leigh-Ann Lively, Quaneisha Harrison and Delisha Thompson along with junior Schalette Brown.
Kyra is special.
The returning first team D3hoops.com first team All-American is one of the most explosive, dynamic and top players in the country this season. However, the best part about Kyra is off the court where she has a sterling personality, is humble and loves to laugh. Mitchell called the computer science major a ‘great human being.’
“It’s going to take a lot from us to repeat,” Kyra Dayon said. “We’re down a player and we don’t have that much height. We’re going to have to rebound and run....
A former Division III Sports Information Director at Lincoln University, Rob Knox also worked at ESPN, Kutztown and at the Delaware County Daily Times. He was named the CoSIDA Rising Star Award College Division winner and won three writing awards for various game stories including the 2007 D-III sectional triple-OT game between Guilford and Lincoln. In the past, he has also written articles for SLAM magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, a graduate of Lincoln and is from Chester, Pa.
2010-13: Brian Falzarano
2010: Marcus Fitzsimmons
2008-2010: Evans Clinchy
Before 2008: Mark Simon
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