"We were pretty young in spots last year," Johnson said. "I expect to be an improved team this year. We are more experienced, more athletic and we can run a little more."

Stephens could be the Saints' top offensive option upfront. She has the ability to get to the basket and finish.

No player worked harder in the off-season than Stephens, who led the team in blocks last year.

"She has a chance to be an all-conference player," Johnson said.


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Roros, senior Rebekah Schildwachter (5-10), junior center Rachel Herman (6-2) and junior Sarah Allen (5-10) are frontcourt veterans in line for major minutes.

Paules will direct the Saints from the point guard spot after leading the team is assists last year.

Senior Allison Stephens (5-9) and freshmen Katie Frank (5-6) and Abby Stephens (5-11) will be vying for backcourt minutes.

Maryvale

2010-2011 record: 9-11

Returning starters: Senior guard Meghan Hildreth (5-6) and junior center Lauren Eckholm (5-11).

Breakdown: Coach Diane O' Dwyer will miss the superior talent of guards Besi Shesi and Caroline Hildreth.

Both are playing in college now.

But Dwyer says the Lions — who return nine players with varsity experience — are a program on the rise.

"This year, we will be better," the second-year coach explained. "I think the girls are playing with a better attitude this year."

The backcourt is loaded with depth and the most notable player is floor leader Meghan Hildreth, who distributes well and defends aggressively. She averaged 12 points per game last year.

"Megan is our point guard, but we are trying not to put the pressure on her all the time," Dwyer said.

Senior Taylor Oliver (5-5) and junior Samm Stewart (5-3) will also log quality minutes.

Senior Madison Oliver (5-4) and junior Caroline Federico (5-4) offer additional backcourt depth.

The rugged Eckholm, who averaged 13 points per game last season, will anchor the frontcourt. She has a nice touch around the basket and is a solid rebounder.

Juniors CeCe Volker (5-10) and Sydney Hesselbein (5-7) and sophomore Kayln Crocetti (5-8) should help on the boards and inside offensively.