2020-21 MAAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Predictions


Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn

Quinton Hamilton

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hosted its basketball preseason awards show last Thursday on ESPN3, which means college basketball is right around the corner.

This year’s season will look a lot different but it should still provide some great women’s hoops. Here’s our breakdown of what the MAAC will look this year.

Canisius Golden Griffins (2019-20: 5-25, 4-16 MAAC)

Key Player: Ella Vaatanen
The Golden Griffins finished at the bottom of the pack last season and lost their top three scorers to either transfer or graduation. That includes two-time MAAC third team member D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks so that won’t help them gain much ground on the rest of the conference this year.

While they are projected to finish at the bottom of the MAAC again this season, one bright spot could be the growth of freshman guard Dani Haskell who is fresh off of averaging 31 points and 6.1 rebounds in her final year of high school ball.
Coaches’ Poll: 11th | Q30 Prediction: 11th

Niagara Purple Eagles (2019-20: 10-21, 7-13 MAAC)

Key Player: Aubrey Halloran
The Purple Eagles will have a lot of production to replace this season. Niagara saw all of its key players from last season leave to either graduation or transfer and will be the epitome of the “next woman up” mentality.

With no seniors on this year’s squad, the team will look to juniors who have game experience but not necessarily the production in terms of stats that you look for from a returning player. Last year’s team led the conference in steals and they will have to do more of the same this year if they want to remain competitive in such a close conference.
Coaches’ Poll: 10th | Q30 Prediction: 10th

Monmouth Hawks (2019-20: 9-22, 5-15 MAAC)

Key Player: Lucy Thomas
The Hawks graduated a total of six players, among them their two leading scorers, which paves the way for junior forward Lucy Thomas. Monmouth will follow Thomas, its lone preseason All-MAAC selection, as the team looks to improve on last year’s 10th place finish.

The Hawks played in their fair share of close games last season, especially towards the end of the conference regular season, as they were one of the better defensive teams in the conference. If they can click on the offensive end, Monmouth could find itself in a lot of games down the stretch this year despite their youth.
Coaches’ Poll: 8th | Q30 Prediction: 9th

Saint Peter’s (2019-20: 9-21, 6-14 MAAC)

Key Player: Taiah Thornton
After picking up some big wins against some of the MAAC’s top teams last season, redshirt senior and Preseason All-MAAC Second Team selection Taiah Thornton and redshirt senior Kendrea Williams are looking to lead the team to more of the same this year.

One area Saint Peter’s should look to capitalize on is their three-point shooting. Last year as a team they were third in the conference at 32 percent and Williams was among the best in the league knocking them down at a 41 percent clip.
Coaches’ Poll: 9th | Q30 Prediction: 8th

Rider Broncs (2019-20: 26-4, 18-2 MAAC)

Key Player: Amanda Mobley
After earning the number one overall seed in the MAAC tournament last year and a share of the regular season title, the Broncs will look to continue that success this year.

That will be somewhat of an uphill battle given the graduation of six seniors including two-time MAAC Player of the Year Stella Johnson, who is now with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. Preseason All-MAAC Second Team honoree Amanda Mobley will lead the team this year. She will be tasked with leading the Broncs and their four other upperclassmen.
Coaches’ Poll: 7th | Q30 Prediction: 7th

Marist Red Foxes (2019-20: 26-4, 18-2 MAAC)

Key Player: Willow Duffell
Marist ended last season atop the conference, tied for first place with Rider with an 18-2 record in MAAC play. This season, the Red Foxes will have to make due without the services of Rebekah Hand who was the backbone of their team for past four seasons.

With Hand having graduated, the team will look to All-MAAC Third Team selection Willow Duffell to provide much-needed leadership and production this season. Duffell led the MAAC in field goal percentage last season and along with junior Sarah Barcello will lead the team as they try to defend their shared conference regular season title and current 12-game win streak.
Coaches’ Poll: 4th: | Q30 Prediction: 6th

Iona Gaels (2019-20: 9-21, 8-12 MAAC)

Key Player: Juana Camilion
The Gaels will go into this season looking to break a three-year streak of fewer than 10 wins. Preseason All-MAAC first team member Juana Camilion is looking to lead the charge and turn her team’s recent misfortunes around. Redshirt sophomore and preseason third team selection Paulla Weekes will provide the second punch of the Gaels two-headed attack.

Iona finished towards the middle of the pack last season and is bringing back experience in all the right places. This could very well be the season where they crack that elusive 10-win threshold.
Coaches’ Poll: 5th | Q30 Prediction: 5th

Lou Lopez-Senechal
Photo: Fairfield Athletics

Fairfield Stags (2019-20: 16-14, 12-8 MAAC)

Key Player: Lou Lopez-Senechal
Lou Lopez-Senechal, the preseason Player of the Year, will lead the Stags once again this season. As the leading scorer of all returning MAAC players, her name will be at the top, underlined and in bold, of every team’s scouting report this season.

But she won’t be alone. Graduate student and fellow preseason All-MAAC first team selection Katie Armstrong and redshirt junior Callie Cavanaugh will put their stamp on the season as well. The Stags won 12 conference games last season, and look for them to add a couple more to that total this year.
Coaches’ Poll: T-2nd | Q30 Prediction: 4th

Siena Saints (2019-20: 11-20, 8-12 MAAC)

Key Player: Rayshel Brown
One of the more experienced teams in the conference this season, the Saints will be returning four of their five starters from last season. Last year’s leader, senior Sabrina Piper, and her 13.7 points per game are no longer with the team which means the tandem of Rayshel Brown and Amari Anthony, who averaged 9.9 and 9.7 points respectively, are next in line to lead the team in scoring.

In a league with a lot of young talent, look for Siena’s experience to take center stage and propel it to the top half of the conference.
Coaches’ Poll: 6th | Q30 Prediction: 3rd

Quinnipiac Bobcats (2019-20: 15-14, 12-8 MAAC)

Key Player: Shaq Edwards
Preseason All-MAAC Second Team selections Shaq Edwards and Mikala Morris will be key to propelling this year’s team to the top of the conference. Head coach Tricia Fabbri knows how valuable it is to have two key returners to help lead a team, “We want to be competing for a championship every year so we were pleased to see Shaq and Mikala Morris get recognition.”

Fabbri also touched on the team’s strength in numbers as this year’s team will feature a lot of valuable players coming back and experienced transfers coming in and playing with the team for the first time.
Coaches’ Poll: T-2nd | Q30 Prediction: 2nd

Manhattan Jaspers (2019-20: 15-14, 12-8 MAAC)

Key Player: Courtney Warley
If you look at the MAAC preseason awards, you won’t have to look hard to find representation from the Jaspers. The team was picked to sit atop the conference in the coaches’ poll, Courtney Warley and Emily LaPointe were selected to the Preseason All-MAAC First Team and Gabby Cajou was named to the third team.

Manhattan was one of three teams to finish with a 12-8 record in conference play but they are looking to stick out from the pack this season.
Coaches’ Poll: 1st | Q30 Prediction: 1st