A change in his roster make-up has not caused any change in philosophy for 12th-year Felician University women's basketball coach Steve Fagan. In fact, closer to the opposite may be true. An influx of young talent in the form of six true freshmen, a redshirt freshman and a first-year transfer may be more amenable to adapting his preferred style.
"Being so young has its plusses and minuses," Fagan said on the eve of the Nov. 14 season opener. "We may make some youthful mistakes, but our freshmen are hungry and humble and looking to compete. It makes practice a lot of fun. All of our players came into the preseason open to learning."
Much of what Fagan would like his players to take in stems from executing a style of play that is independent of the opponent.
"To be successful, we need to play together and dictate the tempo and the pace on both ends of the floor," Fagan said. "That means aggressiveness and connectivity on defense. Offensively we need to share the ball and attack the basket."
Felician has reached the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship tournament following each of the last two seasons and were selected by conference coaches for a third consecutive playoff berth. But Fagan is a believer in the day-to-day development of a program, where results follow if other details are taken care of.
"Leading up to the start of the regular season, we've been about making every practice better than the previous one," he said. "Our goal has been to continue putting a string of quality basketball together."
POINT GUARDS: Junior transfer and co-captain Tania Scott (Newark, N.J./Hudson Catholic) and freshman Kiera Dunhill (Perth, Australia/Presbyterian Ladies' College) are slated to share the Golden Falcons' point guard responsibilities. Though new to the Felician program, Fagan views both as seasoned 'floor generals' with great leadership skills.
GUARDS/WINGS: The emergence of Scott and Dunhill allows senior co-captain Taliyah Brisco (Cambria Heights, N.Y./Francis Lewis) to shift to the '2'-guard spot. Brisco led Felician in minutes in 2018-19 and her competitiveness and leadership skills make her a strong candidate to do so again.
Sophomore Briana Boyd (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) and freshman Briana Lee (Jersey City, N.J./Irvington) are capable swing players who will be called upon to appear at multiple positions. Meanwhile, sophomore Asia Rivera (Saddle Brook, N.J./Saddle Brook) and freshman Haylee Ramirez (North Bergen, N.J./Hudson Catholic) offer solid three-point shooting range.
Junior Destiny Esquilin (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) and freshman Janea Kelty (West Milford, N.J./St. Mary-Rutherford) have displayed strong work ethics and will look to crash the playing rotation. Senior Brianna Lawrence (Spring Valley, N.Y./Ramapo) hopes to contribute after recovering from a preseason injury.
POSTS: Felician's post candidates are making Fagan's decision-making difficult, in a positive way. Sophomore Angel Allen (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth) is much improved, and redshirt freshman Damia Jordan (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Joseph) is anxious to make an impression after a year off. True freshmen Rosie Arias (Linden, N.J./Linden) and Tiara Mahorn (Irvington, N.J./Irvington) will also see time here.
"We have four players with the ability to play with their backs to the basket and score in multiple ways," Fagan said. "They're all developing an interior defensive presence as well."
The potential inside-out games of Boyd and Lee give Fagan line-up flexibility with this unit.