Niagara Gazette

Sports

November 8, 2013

NU women tip-off tonight at Gallagher Center

Niagara tips off tonight at Gallagher Center

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “Putting those pieces together, it fits us to play a more up-tempo style.”

Returning as starters are junior point guard Kelly Van Leeuwen, junior shooting guard Meghan McGuinness and senior guard Chanel Johnson. Faustin said she wasn’t sure who would fill out the starting lineup in tonight’s opener.

Adding size to the frontcourt will be junior forwards Gabby Baldasare (6-foot-1) and Val McQuade (6-foot), sophomore center Sam Lapszynski (6-foot-3) and freshman forward Victoria Rampado (6-foot-2). Rampado leads a freshman class that also includes guards Emily Granruth and Tiffany Corselli.

Faustin hopes that increasing the tempo will help her talented guards find the bottom of the basket.

“We need to do a better job scoring the basketball, which is a big reason for the change in our offense,” she said.

She added that she expects McGuinness — who was second on the team in scoring last season — to help make up for the offensive losses of Gatto and Strohman.

“With a presence inside like (Watson) and a shooter outside like (McGuinness), it gives us some really good options,” she said.

“We have a lot of people that can share (the scoring load) on any given night,” added McGuinness.

The new look has the players excited for the team’s potential this year. McGuinness and Faustin both raved about Watson and the incoming freshmen, as well as the talent of the sophomore class.

“We’ve had to do a lot of teaching, but I think everyone is coming together pretty well,” McGuinness said. “All the guards like the faster pace, (Watson) has been very strong and the freshmen are adjusting really well. I think all of them can help us.”

If the team is to improve on the last two seasons, it’d do well to win tonight against the Mountain Hawks, who beat the Purple Eagles last season.

“They always play really hard and their post players are really talented,” Faustin said. “(Sophomore forward Kerry Kinik) won Rookie of the Year in their league, and she’s phenomenal. It’ll be a tough matchup for us.”

Follow Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.

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