WCU men picked to finish 2nd in PSAC East
Bolstered by its all-conference backcourt, the West Chester men were picked to finish second in the PSAC East preseason basketball coach’s poll. And even though the Golden Rams women are the defending division champs, they were selected to finish fourth largely because head coach Kiera Wooden must replace all five starters, including the program’s toptwo all-time leading scorers.
The Cheyney men and women – who are breaking in new head coaches – were both picked to finish ninth in the nine-team PSAC East.
The WCU men -- who have reached the PSAC Championship Game in three of the last five years under veteran head coach Damien Blair – were the only team in the east to have a pair on the preseason All-Conference team: sophomore backcourt mates Matt Penecale and Malik Jackson. Penecale set the freshman school record for assists (143) last winter, and Jackson earned freshman of the year honors while averaging 15.7 points per game.
The West Chester women return just 16 percent of the team’s offensive production due largely to the graduation of Brittany Sicinski and Dallas Ely. In all, seven seniors have moved on, and they accounted for a combined 5,975 career points.
In her first two seasons Wooden is off to the best head coaching start in program history with a 45-14 record (.763 winning percentage). The Rams have reached the NCAA Tournament in three of the last five campaigns.
“Acting” head men’s basketball coach Dawud Morris has six players back from a Cheyney team that went 2-24 last winter. Guard Rafiq Marshall is the top returning scorer (10.5) and Imir Bailey is the top returning rebounder (4.5). Senior Basir Fulmore is expected to take over the point guard duties.
Morris is the CU alum who played for the Wolves from 2006-08, and was previously an assistant on the staff of Dominique Stephens since 2012. Stephens was fired after going 7-72 in the previous three seasons.
Cheyney’s new women’s coach, Tammy Bagby, inherits eight players from a team that went 5-20 under Kyle Adams. Senior Amber Genwright is the leading returning scorer (10.5) and teammate TaKayla Ellis chipped in 9.0 per contest. Sophomore Marlon Herring grabbed 6.2 boards per game, and senior Taschell Phillips is back after missing last season with a knee injury.
Bagby comes to Cheyney with over 20 years of experience as a high school, collegiate and professional basketball coach. She began her collegiate coaching career at Clark Atlanta University in 1995, and has been assistant coach at Morgan State, Tennessee State and most recently Jackson State.
Three of the four local teams begin the 2016-17 campaign on Nov. 11. The WCU women get underway on Nov. 12 as host of the 31st Annual Carol Eckman Memorial Classic at Hollinger Field House.