Women’s basketball looks to improve in upcoming season

Brandon Ramon
Contributing Writer

The VCU women’s basketball team will begin its second season under head coach Marlene Stollings on Nov. 9 against Youngstown St.

After an 11-19 record last year, the Lady Rams look to continue building on their new brand of basketball with the tag line, “Fear The Fury.”

Fury is described as a “high powered, high scoring, relentless and fun style of play,” according to the VCU Athletics website. The goal is to never leave the offensive end of the floor until they have done everything in their power to put the ball in the basket.

Stollings hopes for a short learning curve, as she will dress seven freshmen and four sophomores on the 15-player roster this season.

ESPN Top-100 and four star recruit Camille Calhoun leads a talented freshman class ranked third among non-BCS schools according to Blue Star Basketball, a highly respected national women’s basketball recruiting service.

The highly regarded freshman class also includes guards Brittani Burgess, Briana Dubose, Monnazjea Finney-Smith, Ashlee Mitchell, Keira Robinson and Isis Thorpe.

Coach Stollings looks to use her recruiting prowess as a key tool in building her young program, stockpiling quality talent and implementing her system.

Looking to build on last year will be returning junior Amber McCann and sophomores Adaeze Alaze, Jessica Pellechio and Melanie Royster.

The team will not lack veteran leadership this season as seniors Robyn Parks, Zakia Williams and Ryen Henry return ready to finish off their careers as Rams with a winning season and postseason success.

Transfer guard Chadarryl Clay from Auburn has three years of eligibility left and will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Clay is expected to be a great addition as she comes from the heralded SEC Conference. ESPN rated her as a four-star recruit, the No. 77 player in the nation and 12th-ranked guard in her class.

Last year’s A-10 conference boasted five 20-plus-win teams in Dayton, Charlotte, Fordham, Duquesne and St. Joseph’s. The cross-town rival Richmond Spiders were 16-16 on the season. The Rams will visit defending A-10 champion Dayton on Feb. 5 in Ohio for their only scheduled matchup.

VCU finished the 2012-13 season 12th in the conference, securing the last bid for the A-10 tournament during their inaugural campaign in the league. This year they will have a bit of an advantage if they qualify for the conference tournament, as it will be played at the Richmond Coliseum in 2014 from March 5-9.

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