PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team opens the 2013-14 season this Friday as the Hawks host Mount St. Mary's in the First Round of the Preseason WNIT at Hagan Arena at 7 p.m.
Coming off a thrilling 2012-13 campaign in which they won the 2013 Atlantic 10 title and earned the conference's automatic NCAA Torunament bid, the Hawks will recognize members of last year's championship team with a ring ceremony and banner unveiling prior to tip against Mount St. Mary's.
Additionally, Friday's game is being streamed free for all fans courtesy of the Saint Joseph's Sports Network.
GAME STORIES . . .
• Saint Joseph’s opens the 2013-14 season against Mount St. Mary’s in the First Round of the Preseason WNIT.
• The winner of Friday’s game will advance to face either #15 LSU or Stephen F Austin, while the losing team will compete amongst a reformated bracket.
• The Hawks are making their second appearance in the Preseason WNIT. SJU previously competed in the 2004 Preseason WNIT, topping Boston University 51-49 at home in the opening game before falling at #10/9 Ohio State, 76-29.
• Saint Joseph’s is facing Mount St. Mary’s for just the fifth time in program history. The series is currently tied, 2-2, with the last meeting played during the 1980-81 season.
• The Hawks are 27-13 all-time in season openers and have posted a 34-6 mark in home openers.
• Saint Joseph’s is coming off a memorable 2012-13 season in which they claimed the Atlantic 10 title for the third time in team history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.
• The Hawks return three starters from last year’s squad and eight letterwinners overall.
• Saint Joseph’s was picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 according to a preseason poll of conference officials and media.
Series History - Saint Joseph’s vs. Mount St. Mary’s
All-Time Series: Series Tied 2-2
Last Meeting: 1/8/81, MSM, 65-62
Last SJU Win: 1/6/79, 70-68
Last MSM Win: 1/8/81, 65-62
Current SJU Streak: L-2
THE FAST BREAK
• The last time the Hawks faced Mount St. Mary’s, junior Renie Shields (nee: Dunne) led the team with a game-high 10 assists. A SJU Athletics Hall of Famer, Renie is the mother of current senior Erin Shields.
TRIO OF HAWKS TO SERVE AS CAPTAINS IN 2013-14
Senior Erin Shields, redshirt junior Ashley Robinson and junior Natasha Cloud will serve as team captains this season. Shields is serving as a team captain for the second straight year, while Robinson and Cloud are captains for the first time this season.
HAWK HILL ADVANTAGE
Saint Joseph’s has always had a reputation of playing well at home. Over 40 seasons, the Hawks have boasted a 380-135 mark at Hawk Hill, including a 48-18 record at Hagan Arena. Last year, SJU went just 4-3 at home against nonconference opponents, but finished with a 12-4 home record overall.
CLOUD EARNS ATLANTIC 10 PRESEASON HONORS
Junior guard Natasha Cloud was selected to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team and Preseason All-Defensive Team. Sitting out the 2011-12 season after transfering from Maryland, Cloud made an immediate impact last year for the Hawks as she posted career-highs in scoring (9.2 ppg), rebounding (4.6 rpg) and assists (4.4 apg). An A-10 All-Defensive Team honoree a season ago, she also led the Hawks with 57 steals and added 17 blocks. Tallying 15 points and adding six rebounds, six assists and two steals in the A-10 Championship game against Fordham, Cloud was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 A-10 Championship in leading SJU to the conference title.
SHIELDS NAMED A-10 TO PRESEASON SECOND TEAM
The Hawks returning leader in scoring (11.4 ppg) and three-pointer (73), senior guard Erin Shields was selected to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team. The reigning A-10 Most Improved Player and All-Conference Third Team selection averaged a career-best 32.6 minutes per game as a junior.
HAWKS LOOKING FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT POSTSEASON BID
Saint Joseph’s is coming off its fourth consecutive postseason appearance, earning the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament last season. Saint Joseph’s, which earned Postseason WNIT bids from 2009-10 to 2011-12, is currently tied for its second-longest postseason appearance streak. The Hawks previously made four straight appearances from 1975-79 and 1996-2000. Saint Joseph’s longest consecutive postseason appearance streak is six seasons, from 1984-85 to 1989-90.
SHIELDS EYES CAREER GAMES PLAYED RECORD
Playing in 97 straight games in the Crimson and Gray, senior Erin Shields is on track to challenge the career games played record of 127, set by Michelle Baker (2008-12) and Ashley Prim (2009-13).
HAWKS EXCEL IN NONCONFERENCE PLAY
Saint Joseph’s has posted a winning record in nonconference play the past three seasons. The Hawks, who went 9-5 in nonconference games last year, have posted a combined 29-13 record during the nonconference portion of its schedule the last three years.
GOTFRIDA AMONGST SJU’S MOST EFFICIENT SCORERS
Senior forward Ilze Gotfrida begins her senior season as one of the more efficient scorers in Saint Joseph’s history. A career 49.6 percent shooter from the floor (178-of-359), she is currently on pace to finish tied for ninth all-time in efficiency as SJU players must attempt 500 field goals to make the record book in this category.
SHIELDS AMONG SJU ALL-TIME LEADERS
Junior Erin Shields enters the 2013-14 season as one of the top three-point shooters in Saint Joseph’s history. The Hawks returning leader in three pointers (73), she is currently eighth all-time in three-pointer made (160) and attempted (442) and ninth in three-point percentage (.362). Additionally, shields is the all-time leader in free throw percentage, converting 88.0 percent (117-of-133) for her career.
GRIFFIN SECOND ALL-TIME IN WINS AT HAWK HILL
Entering her 13th season at her alma mater, Cindy Griffin is second all-time in team history in victories, posting a 223-156 mark to date. Griffin, who has led SJU to a record nine postseason appearances, trails only Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Jim Foster (248) in career wins.
The 2013-14 season will feature a five new faces as the Hawks welcome freshmen Lisanne de Jonge, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Geena Gomez, Jessica Pongonis and Mackenzie Rule to the squad. Saint Joseph’s lost seniors Ashley Prim, Shelby Smith, Chatilla van Grinsven and Mireia Vila to graduation last May.
Saint Joseph’s enters the season with two foreign-born players, making it the fifth straight year the Hawks have had multiple players from outside the United States. Freshman forward Lisanne de Jonge is the 15th foreign-born student-athlete to play for Saint Joseph’s, joining senior Ilze Gotfrida. Below is a list of SJU’s all-time roster of foreign-born players.
Years Player Country
1986-89 Alix Burns England
1994-97 Megan Compain New Zealand
1997-00 Jana Lichnerova Slovakia
1997-00 Barbora Kuklova Slovakia
1999-02 Susan Moran Ireland
2001-04 Irina Krasnoshiok Moldova
2001-04 Amra Mehmedic Bosnia-Herzegovina
2003-07 Whitney Ffrench Canada
2005-07 Zoya Pavlovskaya Russia
2008-10 Mariame Djouara Ivory Coast
2010-12 Samira van Grinsven Netherlands
2009-13 Mireia Vila Spain
2010-Present Ilze Gotfrida Latvia
2011-13 Chatilla van Grinsven Netherlands
2013-Present Lisanne de Jonge Netherlands
FOUR MORE HAWKS IN THE PROS
Saint Joseph’s senior class was a remarkable one, joining only five other classes to make a postseason bid each year. On top of that, and leading the Hawks to the Atlantic 10 title for the first time since 1999, all four seniors - Ashley Prim, Shelby Smith, Chatilla van Grinsven and Mireia Vila - all have gone on to play professionally. Prim is currently playing in Puerto Rico, while Smith is competing in Ireland. van Grinsven, who earned a training camp invite from the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, is playing for Bourges Basket in France, while Vila is competing in her home country of Spain.
SJU TO APPEAR ON LEAGUE-BEST SIX TELEVISED GAME
Saint Joseph’s will benefit from the Atlantic 10’s new eight-year partnerships with ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network as the Hawks are slated for a league-high six national television appearances in 2013-14. Saint Joseph’s games versus George Washington (Jan. 5) and Dayton (Jan. 26) will be broadcast on NBCSN, with games against VCU (Jan. 12), La Salle (Jan. 19) and Duquesne (Feb. 18) airing on the CBS Sports Network. Additionally, the Hawks’ game at Dayton (Feb. 23) will be televised by ESPNU. The first year of the A-10’s eight-year media television partnership will feature 32 nationally-televised games; and the semifinals and final of the women’s basketball championship. The semifinals will air on the CBS Sports Network, with the championship final being televised on the ESPN networks for the 17th straight year.