1. Can Mercy reclaim the SCC title?
Mercy will attempt to reach the SCC tournament championship game for the fifth straight time this season. Tigers won the league title in 2014 and 2015 but fell just short of a third-straight title in a 48-46 loss to Hand last season.
Mercy has the talent to capture the league crown. The Tigers return a pair of All-SCC selections in junior point guard Bella Santoro and junior center Meghan DeVille. Junior wing Samantha Capps and sophomore guard Kameryn King also return.
Mercy did graduate guard Destinee Perry, and junior forward Sam Gallo transferred to Choate, but the Tigers should be in the mix again for another SCC title.
2. Or will Hand repeat?
Hand won its first SCC title last season after falling to Mercy in the title game the year before.
The Tigers graduated small forward Paula Materin, a 3-point specialist who was named to the Register All-Area team, and guard Gillian Kraemer, but the other starters return. They include senior guard Gabby Martin, an All-Area pick who averaged 13.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game as a junior.
Senior forward Kaitlyn Martin and senior forward Colleen Caruth, who scored the winning basket in the SCC final, also return.
3. Can Capital Prep continue its in-state dominance?
Capital Prep has not lost a game to an in-state opponent since losing to Coginchaug in the Class S title game in 2012.
Capital Prep will likely not lose within CSC play this season. The only non-conference in-state team it plays this year is at Mercy on Jan. 16.
The Trailblazers has another streak they would like to keep intact. Since losing to Coginchaug, Capital Prep has won four straight state titles (two in Class S and the last two in Class L). If the Trailblazers win the state title this year, it would make them just the second team to win five straight titles. Westbrook won a state-record six from 1982-87.
4. Does Cromwell win the Shoreline Conference yet again?
With the graduation of four key players, including forward Mya Villard, Cromwell’s rode to another league crown might be a bumpy one. Panthers coach Kelly Maher said: “we should be rebuilding but looking to contend by the end of the season”.
Cromwell does have some talent returning, including senior guard Nikki Bitinaitis and senior center/forward Geanna Williams. East Hampton, led by senior guard Gyanna Russell, is expected to challenge Cromwell and Morgan for the league crown.
5. Who will emerge as champion in Class LL?
Stamford, the defending champion is this class, has the talent to repeat. Despite losing guard Tiana England to graduation, the Black Knights return center Marthe Guirand, center Alexa Kellner, guard Camille Martinez, guard Brooke Kelly and forward Andrea O’Connor.
Fellow FCIAC member Fairfield Warde should also contend behind center Shania Osborne, forward Iliana Krasniqi and guard Daja Polk.
Mary Baskerville and Enfield and McKenna Dale and E.O. Smith should also be in the mix, as should the aforementioned Mercy.
Then there’s New London, which lost to Capital Prep in the Class L final last year. The Whalers, who move up to Class LL, will be led by guard Jada Lucas and center India Pagan.