Thursday, September 15, 2016

Comings and Goings: William and Mary 2016-17 season

Nari Garner

W&M on tap for the latest in our series; James Madison on deck.

The series:

In case you missed it:

Richmond: Comings and Goings
Virginia: Comings and Goings
George Mason: Comings and Goings

Brooke Stewart: the guard who averaged 1.8 ppg last year graduated
Jenna Caroll: the walk-on remains in school but is no longer on the roster
Jeanette Wedo: the Tribe assistant left to become head coach at Franklin Pierce
Kelly Killion: the Tribe assistant left to become an assistant to Penn coach Mike McLaughlin


Nari Garner: 5-7 Freshman F: Combo guard from Freedom High in Tampa; daughter of NFL's Charlie Garner: 6-0 Freshman F: Played basketball and lacrosse at St. Anne's-Belfield in Charlottesvile; mom Kerri played basketball at James Madison;
Victoria Reynolds: 5-10 Freshman F: Played AAU ball for Fairfax Stars, one of the top teams nationally, three-year starter at Archbishop Spaulding High
Sarah Eichler: After two years at Hartford, Eichler joins Ed Swanson's staff. Played for a Green Bay team that won Horizon League four straight years and reached the Sweet 16 in 2010
Lynne-Anne Kokoski: After four years as operations coordinator at Providence, Kokoski joins Swanson's staff; played collegiate ball at Bryant

What's new isn't the Tribe team, it's the Tribe assistant coaching staff given the departure of Wedo, to pursue a dream job for her, and Killion, returning to Penn for the second time.

Eichler worked under Jen Rizzotti at Hartford. "She brings a winning mentality to our program," Swanson said.

Swanson initially recruited Kokoski while recruiting her to play for Sacred Hart and is excited about the energy she will bring. The pair will join Milette Green, who has been with Swanson since he started at William & Mary in 2013.

The Tribe have been on a climb since he took over the program and last season's 15-15 mark included wins over James Madison and Old Dominion and a tight game with Richmond. With a veteran roster of four seniors and three juniors, it's refreshing to hear these words from Swanson, "We're really old."

(Side note: We cannot count the number of times in press conference settings that coaches say the words, "We're young" regardless of the veterans on their rosters.)

The core is leading scorer and 3-point shooter Marlena Tremba, leading rebounder Alex Masaquel and a healthy again Abby Rendle, who missed the last 11 games of the season with an ankle injury on the heels of achieving the first triple-double in program history. Latrice Hunter (4.8 ppg) and Kasey Curtis (1.7 ppg) also are expected to contribute.

Swanson is also challenging Bianca Boggs (7.4 ppg) and Jenna Green (5.6 ppg) to be impact players Boggs, a 5-8 sophomore guard, received early playing time after the injury to Rendle. Swanson wants her to find that extra gear and establish a higher level of consistency while shooting the ball more. He'd like 5-7 junior guard Green to move beyond being solid to becoming "more of a risk taker and looking for her shot."

Among the newcomers, Garner has the pedigree as the daughter of Charlie Garner, drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994. Reynolds, an All-Metro Baltimore Sun first-team selection, averaged 21.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg her senior year.

While the Tribe has been on rise since Swanson took the job, this is the year he wants the team to say "Enough," and compete for one of the top spots in the CAA and beyond.

Season opener: Nov. 13, St. John's at Kaplan Arena

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