By Bobby Ciafardini, SID
Purchase, NY (Nov. 15, 2011) – A
freshman-laden roster helped the Purchase College women's
basketball team land in the Skyline Conference quarterfinals a year
ago, but head coach Steven
Loscher sees greater development from his "Diaper
Dandies" as the team embarks on the 2011-12 campaign.
Maturation has keyed forward progress for the Panthers. Six players of the team's 10 return, with four freshmen turning the calendar on their rookie seasons with high hopes for their sophomore years on the hardwood. Unlike the men's program, which is starting over with only returner, the women have six players in place – a strong nucleus – to build off last year's successful winter. And with that, comes greater cohesion, Loscher says.
Purchase returns the Perrone twins up front. Rachael Perrone is coming off a banner winter in which she was named to the All-Skyline 2nd Team. The squad's center will look to once again team up with her twin sister, Jessica, a fellow scholar-athlete and ever-improving star, in helping Purchase return to the tournament. Sharp-shooter Alyssa Guido, who suffered a season-ending injury last winter, is back and ready to make defenders pay, especially from behind the arc. Guido is quickly approaching 1,000 points for her collegiate career.
The Panthers will rely heavily on four-year workhorse and captain Alyse LaPadula**, whose guard skills will help guide a roster that moves forward without standout playmaker MaryAlice Palmer. Purchase graduated role player Sarah Straub and will not return fellow reserve Olivia Hintz this winter, but the Panthers are hopeful standout forward Jess Lindsay is ready to take the next step. Lindsay has shown great skill with the ball and with her midrange game. She's also a tough defender and rebounder.
Sophomore Devon Espel will make a play for starter minutes in the backcourt. She's fully recovered from some nagging injuries last winter and is ready to join the core of the team in making the jump this winter.
The team will try to make it seven postseason appearances under coach Loscher. The program welcomes newcomers and elite freshman Jeidar Cole, Christina Rupp as well standout transfer Alexis Billups and returnee Jessica Bullock, who rejoins the team following a year hiatus.
Purchase embarks on the new season starting Nov. 15 at the College of Staten Island. The Panthers' home opener is set for Nov. 29, with the bulk of the key conference showdowns on the calendar following mid-winter recess.
-With James Brown