Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Comings and Goings: VCU 2016-17 season

Back from more Comings and Goings, this time from Virginia Commonwealth.

Clock is ticking toward the season so know you're eager for more. Old Dominion is up next.

The series thus far:

George Mason: Comings and Goings
William and Mary: Comings and Goings
Richmond: Comings and Goings
Virginia: Comings and Goings
James Madison: Comings and Goings
Liberty: Comings and Goings
Virginia Tech: Comings and Goings


Jessica Ogunnorin - A 6-foot-1 forward from Greece (by way of Stony Brook), she pulled down a team-high 223 rebounds as a graduate student last year. Averaged 5.7 points.
Adaeze Alaeze - The Rams' leading scorer last year at 11.6 points as a senior. A 5-10 swing player from Baltimore is starting her professional playing career in Spain.
Chadarryl Clay - A 5-foot-8 guard who scored 5.7 points per game last year as a senior. Now enrolled in pharmacy school at VCU, she will not return for her final year of eligibility.
Melanie Royster - The fifth-year senior who scored 7 points in limited playing time last year has graduated.

Camille Calhoun returns!

Nyra Williams - Diminutive point guard (as in 5-5) from Hampton who scored 1,000 points in her
career at Bethel High School and took MVP honors at the 2015 She Got Game Classic in D.C. Not to be confused with Niya Johnson.
Niya Johnson - Native of Brooklyn. A 5-8 shooting guard who averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds as a high school senior. Not to be confused with Nyra Williams.
Jailyn Maddox - A 5-10 guard from (sweet home) Alabama. Made a name for herself in here hometown of Hoover both on and off the court, winning honors for her volunteer and charity work.
Mooriah Rowser - Dynamic 5-9 guard transfers to VCU after a solid career at Memphis. A grad student with one year of eligibility left after averaging 11 points last year for the Tigers. Came out of a prep powerhouse (St. John's College High in Rockville, Md.). Earned her bachelor's degree in business administration and is now pursuing a master's in computer and information systems security.
Danielle Hammond - A 6-4 center from scenic Bryn Mawr, Pa. Also starred in volleyball. Averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks as a high school senior. An aggressive shot swatter under the defensive basket.

No doubt the Rams will miss leading scorer Adaeze Alaeze, but expect Beth O'Boyle's program to continue on the upswing after last season's run to the Atlantic 10 tournament's semifinals followed by an achingly close loss to Virginia in the first round of the WNIT.

Camille Calhoun is healthy again after tearing her ACL. O'Boyle says the 6-foot junior is progressing well in drills; if she can overcome the mental hurdle of rebounding from such a serious injury, she could be the Rams' best offensive weapon. Calhoun averaged 11.3 ppg through seven games last fall before hurting her knee in December.

Mooriah Rowser gives VCU another scoring option. She's a versatile playmaker who's capable of taking it off the bounce or shooting the 3. She shot 44 percent from the field and drained 35 3-pointers at Memphis; her experience makes her an immediate impact player.

Isis Thorpe, Ashley Pegram and Keira Robinson also return along with Curteeona Brelove. All benefitted from the Rams state-of-the-art practice facility that requires a fingerprint to enter any hour of the day. Thorpe is set to become the all-time leader in 3-pointers at VCU. With 185 in her career, she is 11 shy of the record.

Point guard GG Goodhope, hampered by a foot injury and out for the first nine games of last season, will look to finish out her senior year with a bang as a distributor who isn't shy about shooting.

Among the newbies, Hammond is an intriguing matchup who is able to shoot the 15-footer. "She's great to watch," O'Boyle said. "You don't necessarily see big post players do a lot of the things she does."

Johnson tore her ACL last year and continues to rehab from surgery. Maddox comes from a powerhouse high school program. Hoover is the largest high school in Alabama with more than 2,700 students. Ever tune into the MTV reality show "Two-A-Days?" That's Hoover!

Williams was a true point guard in high school and will benefit from playing behind Goodhope and Robinson.

Don't sleep on these Rams. They won 23 games a year ago and look to make inroads in a competitive A-10. Minnesota is on the sked, too; the game will pit O'Boyle against VCU's last coach, Marlene Stollings, whose recruits include Thorpe, Robinson and Calhoun.

Season opener: Coppin State, Nov. 11

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