Southern Connecticut Conference
Hand looks to have the strongest team, coming off their 2014 division crown. The Tigers lost sharp-shooter Lily Taylor and scorer Sophie Joel to graduation, but bring back tough interior defender and scorer Cassidy Wygonik and Geena Catalano. … Hillhouse could be close behind. The Academics lost Shyla Osmond (Felecian) and Alexis Beene (LIU Post) to graduation, but have Allegra Jones and a few Career transfers to help bolster their roster. …Law fell one win shy of clinching a berth in the state tournament last season. Coach Dan Young has a season under his belt and Laura Dulin, who is arguably the best player in the conference. The Eagles should be good for at least nine-to-11 victories this year, … Foran said good bye to All-State point guard Teneya McLaughlin (Assumption) , who graduated, and coach Scott Nails (Rye Country Day School), who left. This could be a rebuilding year for the Lions, coming off a rough 2014 campaign.
Sheehan was a tough team to beat last season, but ran into buzz saws nightly in the tough Housy Division. This year could be a little different. The Titans bring back All-State forward Joelle MarkAnthony (Brandeis) and should take the division. …Amity was chock full of seniors last year, like Chloe Brinton (Southern Connecticut State University), who scored her 1,000th career point and made All-Area. Now the Spartans will have to rely on a young bunch led by junior Elise Graham. … Cheshire lost All-Area point guard Missy Bailey (Franklin Pierce) to graduation, but still have forwards Sara Como and Jill Howard. The Rams will be a solid team. … Lyman Hall’s big 3 of Taylor and Nicole Mierzejewski and Krista Petersen graduated, leaving coach Tom Lipka to find a new core group of stars. Adding injury to insult, point guard Naomi Rascati tore her ACL during volleyball season and is out for the year. … Shelton has an experienced group coming back. The Gaels lost two seniors, Nicole Beard and Jessica Winn, but should be improved this season.
North Haven could have the best shot to take this wide open division if senior shooting guard Jill Johnson can stay healthy. …Meanwhile, Career is going through a major transition after seeing All-State Most Valuable Player Tanaya Atkinson (Temple) graduate and a number of players jump ship for Hillhouse. … East Haven should be decent as well with Jessica Benevento and Cailey Korwek back for their senior seasons. …Branford has one of the state’s best point guards in Adrienne DiGioia and one of the area’s best shooters in Keira Integlia. Couple those back court talents with experience and production from some of the seniors, and Branford should be in the mix for the division title, too…. Wilbur Cross could have a rough go of it.
Mercy, per usual, is the favorite. The Tigers did not lose too much from last year and bring back All-State forward Maura Fitzpatrick (Marist), All-State point guard Kendra Landy (Fairfield), All-State center Sarah Gallo and up and coming junior point guard Destine Perry. ...West Haven should have more weapons this season and senior guards Kial Watts and Amanda Martino should lead the way. …Sacred Heart Academy brings in yet another new coach. The Pacers have had three different coaches in the last three seasons and Bruce Rich will try to lead a pretty talented team back to the state tournament. …Lauralton Hall is new to the conference and senior point guard Maggie Salandra should help to make the acclimation process a tad bit easier. All-Area forward Emma McCarthy (Fairfield) and All-Area guard Carly Fabbri (Quinnipiac) graduated, so coach Amanda Forcucci will have to find a new core group to lead her team yet again. … Hamden could both take its lumps again in a tough division.
Morgan has one of the state’s best point guards in junior All-Area floor general Sami Ashton. Ashton and senior forward Jen Dawson should help the Huskies capture the SLC, coming off their 57-52 loss to New London in the Class M final. …Cromwell, which gave Morgan a run for its money in every match up, lost All-State forward Janelle Harrison (Hartford) and Emily Appleby to graduation. A younger group will look to keep pace with the Huskies again in the Shoreline. …Haddam-Killingworth has a new coach in Scott Medeiros, who is taking over for coach Jim Bombaci. Halie Serbent and Caroline Fortuna come back to a team that will need to find a way to get consistent scoring. … Hyde also has a new coach in John Adamovich, as he takes over for Tracy Claxton. Dominque Burgess is the lone senior on the team and will be counted on to shoulder a lot of the load. …Audrey and Amy Acari will be counted on to do a lot for Coginchaug this year, as the Blue Devils lost six players to graduation. … Old Lyme brings in a group of five seniors like Julia Strycharz and Hannah O’Brien. Sophomore Abby Stone got some time last year in her freshman season and Sloane Sweitzer was solid in her sophomore campaign. … Old Saybrook lost Mia Neas, one of the area’s best scorers, to graduation. Paige Trabucchi was also a solid contributor for >Old Saybrook that graduated.
Naugatuck Valley League
Ansonia brings in a new coach in Vince DellaVolpe. The Chargers still have a young group coming off an 0-20 season. …Seymour and Derby will also look to find their footing this season and build back their programs.
Around the state
Kolbe-Cathedral brings back Denisha Gardner and should be a very tough defensive team in the South-West Conference. Pomperaug was very good last year, knocking off Hillhouse in the first round of states, and only lost three players to graduation. …In the FCIAC, Danbury lost the Gartner twins, but brings back FCIAC Championship game MVP Allie Smith (Southern Connecticut State University) and she should keep the Hatters atop the conference, Greenwich will be tough this year, too, led by junior center Abbie Wolf. Ridgefield should also have a solid outing led by junior forward Rebecca Lawrence (Delaware). …In the Constitution State Conference, Capital Prep should run away with the conference again. Led by reigning Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year senior forward Kiah Gillespie (Maryland) and All-State junior forward Desiree Elmore (Syracuse), the Trailblazers should face its toughest in-state test when they battle Mercy midseason. Look out for Nicole Belade at O’Brien Tech, who is rapidly approaching 1,000 career points. The junior guard should reach the milestone her senior season. … In the Central Connecticut Conference, Weaver brings in a quick one-two punch at guard with All-State senior point guard DeJane “Snoop” James (Hampton) and junior guard Shaquana Edwards. Farmington should also be strong with All-State second team members guard Cheray Saunders and forward Sophie Borg. …In the Eastern Connecticut Conference, New London brings back sophomore 6-foot-2 center India Pagan, senior 6-foot center Nikita Terry and junior forward Chareer Osborne, who made All-State honorable mention last season. Barring injury, the Whalers should be a regular in the Top 10.