WCU men picked to fin­ish 2nd in PSAC East

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

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.

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