Coppin StateCoach: Jennie Hall, second season at...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Coppin State

Coach: Jennie Hall, second season at Coppin State (13-14).

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

1998-99 record: 13-14 (11-7 MEAC).

Radio: None.

Arena: Coppin Center (3,000).

Tickets: $8 general admission, $5 students, $4 special groups. Call 410-383-5607.

Starters lost: Two.

Outlook: Few schools can produce a duo equal to Kiesha Brooks and Liesha Mitchell, both expected to earn first-team MEAC honors. Brooks (16.6 ppg, 11.5 rpg) is good for a double double every night, and Mitchell (15.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is effective on both ends of the floor. The problem last season was that the rest of the Eagles contributed only 28 more points. Coppin State is hoping that Jackie Johnson-Stewart will continue to improve and that Shequera Dickerson can become a taller version of the departed Trisha Allen.

Christian Ewell

Home-grown Eagle

Kiesha Brooks

Year: Junior

Pos.: Guard-forward

Ht.: 5-10

Tipping off: Farquar Middle School in Olney

High school: Sherwood High School in Olney

Selecting a college: Chose Coppin after one season at American. "The school was small, so you got one-on-one attention with teachers, and it was an up-and-coming program."

Biggest influence: Grandfather, Milton Gibson. "He's been here since Day One."

Home court: Olney Manor or Longwood Recreation Center

Running mate: Old friends Maurice Collier, John Boima and Brian Dove. "They really taught me the game."

Talking trash: "I don't trash talk at all. I let my game speak for myself. People try to get me to talk, but that tends to lead only to more talk, so I just smile."

Hoop idol: Dawn Staley

Loyola

Coach: Cindy Anderson, second season at Loyola (17-6).

Affiliation: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

1998-99 record: 21-7 (13-5 MAAC).

Radio: None.

Arena: Reitz Arena (3,000).

Tickets: $5 general admission, $8 reserved. Call 410-617-2283.

Starters lost: Four.

Outlook: Four starters are gone from a talented team that has flirted with NCAA bids the past two seasons, but there is enough returning talent and highly regarded newcomers to create high hopes for Anderson, who replaced Pat Coyle last Dec. 16. Senior forward Jen Bongard and junior point guard Shannon Cohen headline the returning players, and junior power forward Erica Rath is expected to bounce back after missing the final two months last season with torn knee ligaments.

Bill Free

Home-grown Greyhound

Shannon Cohen

Year: Junior

Pos.: Guard

Ht.: 5-6

Tipping off: Lutherville-Timonium Recreation League

High school: Mercy

Selecting a college: "I met with the Loyola coaching staff and they offered me a chance to reach my potential."

Biggest influence: Parents, Stan and Kathy Cohen. "They were always behind me and encouraged me to keep going."

Home court: Lutherville and Timonium elementary schools

Running mate: Nikki Teasley, St. John's Prospect Hall and North Carolina. "She played on my AAU team, the Maryland Hurricanes, and it was a great feeling just to watch her play."

Talking trash: "It was fun to play in high school against two of my teammates, Andrea Pinhero and Charity Carbine, from the AAU Waves. We'd laugh every time we walked by each other."

Hoop idol: None

UMBC

Coach: Jennifer Bednarek, second season at UMBC (13-14), third overall (22-33).

Affiliation: Northeast Conference.

1998-99 record: 13-14 (11-9 NEC).

Radio: None.

Arena: Retriever Activities Center (4,024).

Tickets: $6 general admission, $3 non-UMBC students with ID. Call 410-455-2126.

Starters lost: Two.

Outlook: UMBC's biggest concern will be replacing Monica Logan, who led the nation in rebounding and was the team's second-leading scorer. Otherwise, the Retrievers return Jami Lange (16.0 ppg, 3.4 apg), the NEC Newcomer of the Year, and Sheila Johnson, an all-rookie NEC pick. Jessie Brown probably will play point guard, and fellow freshman Shalayna Johnson, a two-time scoring champion in the D.C. area, could provide consistent offense.

Christian Ewell

Home-grown Retriever

Sheila Johnson

Year: Sophomore

Pos.: Forward

Ht.: 5-9

Tipping off: Clinton Boys & Girls Club, 10 years old

High school: Frederick Douglass in Upper Marlboro

Selecting a college: Picked UMBC over Morgan State. "I weighed which school was on the rise."

Biggest influence: Father, Leon Johnson. "He taught me how to play."

Home court: Andrews AFB, or Melwood Park, across from her home in Upper Marlboro.

Running mate: Her father, her older brother, Christopher, and Tiffany Thompson, who now plays at Old Dominion.

Talking trash: "I do occasionally participate for the purposes of taking my opponents out of their normal rhythm of the game. I usually don't initiate it, but once it starts, I like to continue it."

Hoop idol: Teresa Weatherspoon.

UMES

Coach: Trina Patterson, first season at UMES, eighth overall (92-128).

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

1998-99 record: 11-17 (7-11 MEAC).

Radio: None.

Arena: Hytche Athletic Center (5,500).

Tickets: $6 adults, $3 children or students with ID. Call 410-651-6496.

Starters lost: Two.

Outlook: Hired in August, Patterson inherits a team that ended its 1998-99 campaign by losing 11 of its final 14 games. Guards Nicole Council and Kiana Lewis form a dependable backcourt, and the return of Aileene Frazer (12.2 ppg in 1997-98) from knee surgery should help as well. But Shantwan Dowell is UMES' only experienced front-court player -- though newcomers Nathannia Howard and Trishia Johnson should help out. Look for the Hawks, ninth in the MEAC last season, to finish toward the bottom of the standings again.

Christian Ewell

Home-grown Hawk

Aileene Frazer

Year: Senior

Pos.: Guard

Ht.: 5-4

Tipping off: Started at a Boys & Girls Club in Bladensburg, when she was "about 9 or 10 years old."

High school: Bladensburg

Selecting a college: She doesn't know why. "It's been awhile. I don't remember."

Biggest influence: Lester Butler, her high school coach. She still calls him Mr. Butler. "He helped me out a whole lot with everything."

Home court: "I would go to my high school to play in the summer."

Running mate: Shannon Davis and Tiffany Moss -- played with them on AAU teams and against them in high school. "I just remember that they talked all the time during the games."

Talking trash: "I don't. I just play. That's just me."

Hoop idols: Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson.

Morgan State

Coach: Gerard Garlic, first season at Morgan State.

Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

1998-99 record: 12-16 (9-9 MEAC).

Radio: WEAA (88.9 FM).

Arena: Hill Field House (4,500).

Tickets: $8 general admission, $5 students. Call 443-885-3830.

Starters lost: None.

Outlook: Any coach who inherits a team in June sits in a tough spot, especially when there are only nine players on the roster. However, Darcel Estep left Garlic in decent shape, as all of the Bears starters return from a team that had a middle-of-the-pack finish in the MEAC. The team lost only reserve guard Gabriella Beckles, and incoming guard Angela Creek was a prospect coveted by lower-level ACC schools, though she might not make an impact until the second part of the season. The biggest task will fall to Kimberly Harris, who must fill in for center Carissa Meekins (ankle), who's out for the next eight to 10 weeks.

Christian Ewell

Home-grown Bear

Sherie Cornish

Year: Sophomore

Pos.: Guard

Ht.: 5-7

Tipping off: Started in little leagues in Glen Burnie

High school: Severn

Selecting a college: "I really didn't want to go too far away from home. I wanted my folks to be able to go to all of my games. I also wanted to go to an all-black school."

Biggest influence: Her parents. "They're both hard workers and I strive to follow after them and work hard."

Home court: Seton Keough

Running mate: Seneka Blackwell and Nevin Caple, her two best friends. "I always played with them in the summer and in AAU. I'd played with them since sixth grade."

Talking trash: "None at all. I just let my game do the talking."

Hoop idol: Michael Jordan

Mount St. Mary's

Coach: Vanessa Blair, second season at Mount St. Mary's (21-7).

Affiliation: Northeast Conference.

1997-98 record: 21-7 (18-2 NEC)

Radio: WXTR (820 AM).

Arena: Knott Arena (3,196).

Tickets: Admission is free.

Starters lost: One.

Outlook: The Mount women were the reverse of the men's team, dominating the league's regular season, then suffering an upset loss to Monmouth in the NEC tournament semifinals. With virtually everyone back, including four starters, the Mount should be a major force again. Leading the returning cast are NEC Player of the Year Megan Gardiner and junior Kia Williams, who was slowed by injury last season. In addition, Blair has an outstanding freshman class. The schedule has added two competitive tournaments early, but the Mount is still the team to beat in the NEC.

Kent Baker

Home-grown Mountaineer

Kia Williams

Year: Junior

Pos.: Guard-forward

Ht.: 6-0

Tipping off: D.C. Beltway AAU team

High school: Largo

Selecting a college: "I didn't want to go far from home and I loved the academic system here."

Biggest influence: Vanessa Blair, current coach. "She always tries to push me to be better."

Home court: Cedar Heights Rec Center

Running mate: Teammate Deanna Butters. "We can take constructive criticism from each other because we're good friends."

Talking trash: "Before a high school tournament, one girl from Seton, a freshman, said something about being better than me. I said, 'We'll see.' I won the MVP trophy, but they won the tournament."

Hoop idol: None

Navy

Coach: Joe Sanchez, sixth season at Navy (97-44), 22nd overall (404-218).

Affiliation: Patriot League.

1998-99 record: 17-11 (7-5 Patriot).

Radio: Selected games on WNAV (1430 AM).

Arena: Alumni Hall (5,710).

Tickets: $4 to $8 as part of doubleheaders with men. Call 800-US4-NAVY.

Starters lost: Three.

Outlook: The loss of Mandy Stephan to knee surgery was a big blow to a team that already had graduated two starters. An inordinate scoring load may fall upon Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year Erica Hayes -- who will see a lot of double teams -- and Sanchez will have to depend on a number of talented freshmen. With so many young players, Navy will try to run and create offense off the defense. Enthusiasm doesn't figure to be a problem with so many newcomers.

Kent Baker

Home-grown Midshipman

Kristin Davidson

Year: Freshman

Pos.: Center

Ht.: 6-3

Tipping off: Junior varsity at Leonardtown High

High school: Leonardtown

Selecting a college: "I attended a lot of camps, including Navy's and I was recruited from there. My dad Bruce is a 1965 graduate here."

Biggest influence: Joe Haggard. "My high school coach had a great passion for the game."

Home court: Patuxent River NAS base and Leonardtown High.

Running mate: Helen Young. "I never had basketball experience when I was younger. We're friends who pushed each other."

Talking trash: "We had a rival in Southern Maryland that tore down a poster after one game. We didn't shake hands. A few girls got nasty."

Hoop idol: Sheryl Swoopes

Towson

Coach: Ellen Fitzkee, 12th season at Towson (133-170).

Affiliation: America East.

1998-99 record: 12-16 (6-12 America East)

Radio: Away games on WTMD (89.7 FM) except for at California Northridge and Pepperdine.

Arena: Towson Center (5,000).

Tickets: $8 adults, $6 alumni, $4 students and senior citizens. Call 410-830-2244.

Starters lost: One.

Outlook: Jess Gordon, a talented 6-2 junior center who led the Tigers in scoring (11.0 ppg), has dropped off the team for personal reasons, so Fitzkee will shift 6-0 power forward Faith Jones to center. Highly regarded junior Kim Wright will start at power forward and the team's emotional leader, senior Shniece Perry, will start at small forward. The backcourt is talented and deep, with Michele Lanigan back to run the offense after missing the final nine games last season with an ankle injury.

Bill Free

Home-grown Tiger

Jill McGowan

Year: Junior

Pos.: Guard

Ht.: 6-0

Tipping off: George's Creek in Knights of Columbus league as a third-grader

High school: Westmar in Midland near Frostburg

Selecting a college: "Towson offered me what I needed educationally."

Biggest influence: Father, Mike McGowan. "He pushed me and got me into a lot of basketball leagues."

Home court: Midland Playgrounds

Running mate: Valerie Chaney, who played one year at Georgia Tech. "She played for Frankfort High [W. Va.], and Westmar played them six times and we never won even though every game was close and exciting."

Talking trash: "Erin Furey was a guard for Frankfort High and we exchanged some words a few times in high school. It was mostly in fun."

Hoop idol: Magic Johnson

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
30°