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Women’s basketball preview: Up-and-comers

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Last season, Stanford women’s basketball’s three seniors, Erica McCall, Briana Roberson and Karlie Samuelson averaged a combined 95.4 minutes per game — almost half of the 200 minutes per game for the whole team.

With the three starters graduating this year, the team will see new leaders emerge, and less familiar faces will be seen on the court more often. Coming back from injury or playing the shadow of the three superstar seniors last year, here are the players that should see more action this season.

Frontcourt:

Shannon Coffee, (center): Despite not seeing a lot of action last year, playing on average 4.3 minutes a contest, the junior will likely play more this year as the team looks to fill the shoes of Erica McCall. Although Coffee is the only center on the Stanford roster, she has attempted four three-point field goals and 23 shots from within the arc in 86 minutes last season.

“We don’t really say forwards or centers, we use numbers,” said Coffee. “All of us are interchangeable in those types of things and I like to shoot. I’m not a typical center, but it doesn’t really affect anything on the court.”

Entering her third season, Shannon will still learn a lot while playing the most minutes in her collegiate career but still has some experience to lead the team on the court. Her ability to shoot from surprisingly deep helps the Cardinal stretch the floor and contributes to the versatile style of play the team boast.

“A big thing that coaches want to see me do is be a leader out on the court, said Coffee. “I like to think that I know what I’m doing so they want me to communicate that with the younger plays. Just building my skills, finishing down low, rebounding, doing the things I know I need to do.”

Nadia Fingall (forward): During her freshman season, Fingall played 11.3 minutes per game throughout 36 contests. She even started eight games while former junior Kaylee Johnson was out with a foot injury. While the sophomore shot 50 percent from the floor last season, Fingall hopes to round up her game this year to become a more pivotal part of the offense.

“I think this year will be great, having the experience that I had last year, maturing and working on my game over the summer,” Fingall said. “Working on running, low post moves, just using last year’s experience has helped me go into this year knowing what to expect.”

Racking up 91 boards and 13 blocks last year, Fingall should also expand her role as a defensive stopper for the Cardinal.

Backcourt:

Dijonai Carrington (guard): Last season, Carrington played the most minutes (274) of all players highlighted in this piece. Tallying 80 boards and 19 steals in 35 contests, the sophomore should see her role as a defensive stopper increase in the absence of former senior Roberson. In her appearances last year, Carrington showed a lot of aggressiveness and consistently attacked the basket to draw the defense in. Her offensive play style could function well with some of the knockdown shooters on the team.

“I definitely want to continue to be a defensive stopper and to be a person they can put on anyone to guard,” Carrington said. “But we lost a lot offensively, so I think my offensive production is going to be needed a lot more this year than it was last year.”

Alexa Romano (guard): In a team that just lost their starting point guard, Romano has to adapt to the new style of offense implemented by coach Tara VanDerveer. One of two upperclassmen point guard, with fellow junior Marta Sniezek, Romano needs to be more of a leader this season.

“I feel like everyone’s role has changed. We have a new offense,” Romano said. “As an upperclassmen, we’re expected to be more vocal and help the underclassmen out. I’ve had to be more of a leader through action, as well as vocally.”

Mikaela Brewer (guard): After playing for team Canada U18 in high school, the sophomore has had a lot of experience at a competitive basketball level despite playing low minutes last year. This season, Brewer could become a sharpshooter for the Cardinal, especially from distance. VanDerveer could use Brewer to help spread the floor thanks to her ability to shoot and drive to the hoop.

“Last year I was injured a lot, so I didn’t get to play as much,” Brewer said. “This year I am hoping to contribute more, and I think I can bring my shot and contribute offensively.”

Ana Wilson (guard): Last season, the sophomore missed the first 11 games recovering from a concussion she suffered during the practices for the 2016 McDonald all-American game and the final 11 games of the year due to a foot injury. After playing in only six games, Wison should progressively see more playing time this year, as she is cleared to start the season.

“I’m excited just to be on the court, to be playing, excited to contribute more to this team this year,” said Wilson. “Being out with injury is always a bump in the road, but I’m just really excited to be out at practice.”

 

Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.