The N.C. State women's basketball team was picked by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the ACC Head Coaches to finish 10th in the ACC in the 2013-2014 season.
Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Poll
1. Duke (843 points, 39 first-place votes)
2. Notre Dame (794 points, 14 first-place votes)
3. Maryland (745 points, 3 first-place votes)
4. North Carolina (715 points, 1 first-place vote)
T5. Georgia Tech (527 points)
T5. Florida State (527 points)
7. Syracuse (517 points)
8. Virginia (470 points)
9. Miami (419 points)
10. NC State (363 points)
11. Boston College (304 points)
12. Wake Forest (263 points)
13. Virginia Tech (213 points)
14. Clemson (159 points)
15. Pittsburgh (102 points)
ACC Head Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Duke (220 points, 10 first place votes)
2. Notre Dame (211 points, 5 first place votes)
3. Maryland (195 points)
4. North Carolina (182 points)
5. Georgia Tech (146 points)
6. Florida State (137 points)
7. Syracuse (133 points)
8. Virginia (128 points)
9. Miami (103 points)
10. NC State (90 points)
11. Boston College (75 points)
12. Wake Forest (68 points)
13. Virginia Tech (58 points)
14. Clemson (34 points)
15. Pittsburgh (20 points)
In this Fanpost, I set forth reasons why I think State can do much better:
With seven seniors, five returning players with significant starting minutes and six players who were rated as four star in high school by HoopGurlz, even if Kellie Harper were still the coach of the State women's basketball team, one would expect a finish in the top third of the conference. With new coach Wes Moore, an experienced coach with much success at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, one would not expect any less.
State has skill, speed and experience in the back court, and skill and size in the front court. Red shirt junior Len 'Nique Brown shared starting point guard duties with senior Myisha Goodwin Coleman. Coleman started for a major portion of last year's schedule while Brown started the last portion of the schedule. While Brown is faster and has more offensive and point guard skills, Coleman has been a starter since her freshman year and is a streaky three point shooter. Krystal Barret started at the shooting guard all of last year and at five-nine has good speed, defensive skills (named defensive player of the year by the team) and ball handling ability.
In the front court returning starters six-two Kody Burke and six-five Markeisha Gatling add skill and size. Kody Burke, who played power forward last season, should be a candidate for All-ACC. At times last year, Burke looked the part of all conference, and at other times she disappeared; for example, the Hoops for Hope Game. Markeisha Gatling, who set a North Carolina high school single season field goal percentage record of 74.1 per cent, played two years at Gulf Coast Community College. As a result, it took her a good part of last year's season to adjust to playing in a conference like the ACC where players of her size and skill are present.
The question is who will replace small forward Marissa Kastanek who was All ACC last season, was a freshman All-American and was ACC freshman of the year. Coach Moore could choose to start Brown, Goodwin Coleman and Krystal Barrett in a three guard line-up with Kody Burke and Markeisha Gatling starting at the foward and center positions. However, with Brown at five-five and Goodwin Coleman at five-four, the guards would be small. On the other hand, Coach Moore could start Brown and Barrett at the guard positions and either five-eleven Breezy Williams or five-eleven Ashly Eli at the small forward giving State size, speed and athleticism at the guard and small forward positions. Williams always looked like the most athletic player on the team during her freshman, sophomore and junior years, and looked like she would play significant minutes after her freshman year; however, a knee injury at the beginning of her sophomore year seemed to curtail her progress. Eli, rated a high school four star recruit by Hoop Gurlz, received significant minutes as a substitute at the three position last year. While she only scored 2.4 points per game last season, she was considered an excellent defender.
Six-four Lakeesa Daniel, another player rated as four star by HoopGurlz in high school, is a red-shirt senior and provides experience in front court rotation with Burke and Gatling. In watching Daniel in pregame warm-ups, one cannot help but notice her smooth jump shot; however, she appears to lack confidence in her game. A break-out senior year by Daniel would help State greatly.
A player whose ability to add to the team's success is unknown but promising is six foot Julianna Prim discussed in this BTP article. Five-eight guard Dominique Wilson transferred to State from Arkansas where she started 19 games and averaged 6.6 points per game. Wilson is one of State's four-star players, but will have to red-shirt this year due to the transfer. Five-eight guard Miah Spencer and six-one forward Jennifer Mathurin make up the 2013-2014 freshman class. Additionally, five-eleven guard Kaley Moser is a walk-on whose father and older sister, a dance team member, attended State.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL REPORT
Clay Kallam in a Full Court article entitled White Paper Summit: Women's basketball heavyweights look to the future referenced recommendations the 35 member White Paper Summit endorsed by majority vote:
- Move the Final Four to the weekend after the men’s Final Four;
- The top 16 seeds would host the first two rounds of the tournament (meaning that the first through fourth seeds in each bracket would host);
- Eliminate two of the Regional sites, and have eight teams at each of two "Super Regional" locations that would play down to the Final Four;
- Have a limited number of sites that would host the Final Four and Super Regionals;
- Play the Division I, II and III championships in the same location starting in 2016.
- Move the Final Four to the weekend after the men’s Final Four;
Many of these proposals are similar if not the same as proposals made by Val Ackerman in a report which was released back in June.
Val Ackerman was hired by the NCAA in November to assess the state of the women's game. In a report submitted last week, Ackerman advised a series of ideas that would help. They included moving the Final Four back to a Friday-Sunday format, exploring a two-site super regional for the second week of the NCAA tournament and returning to the top 16 teams host the first two rounds. In Ackerman's proposal, the eight-team super regionals would be awarded to sites for three years at a time.
Changes to NCAA women's basketball is being undertaken due to the falling interest in the women's game.