By RYAN McDONOUGH
The Bonnies tipoff their regular season in the Preseason WNIT, a first round game against Siena at 5:30 p.m. at the Reilly Center serving as their first game of the tournament and season opener in one.
If the Bonnies defeat Siena, they will continue in traditional bracket play, and take on the winner of No. 22 DePaul and Southern Illinois on Sunday, Nov. 15 on the road.
If the Bonnies fall to Siena, they will be entered into a consolation pool and play Friday, Nov. 20 on the road against a regional opponent.
The championship game will air on CBS Sports on Nov. 22.
Siena went 22-13 last season, one of the most successful in program history.
The Saints won 12 games on the road last season, fourth most in the nation.
Siena lost their leading scorer from the 2014-15 season, but returns two players who averaged more than 10 points per game.
Assistant Coach Tiara Johnson is scouting Siena.
“Siena is a very good offensively set team. They run their system, and they’re gritty, and they get actions and scores out of it.
“They’re looking to usually go to their forwards. They have two very strong forwards. One is coming off their conference Rookie of the Year. So she is very dangerous. She can shoot it, she can post up strong.
“And then now they have a few athletic guards who can push tempo, so we have to be ready to pick that kind of stuff up early and team-defend their forwards.”
Scouting No. 22 DePaul
DePaul has made the NCAA Tournament every year since 2003.
Assistant Coach Andrea Mulcahy is scouting DePaul.
“They have a great tradition. They’re one of the few teams in the nation that have been to consistent NCAA Tournaments,” Mulcahy said. “They were Big East champions last year, so their tradition is really good.
“They play good team basketball. They share the ball. I think they were definitely top-10 in the nation in assists last year, so they share the ball well, they know their teammates very well, and they’re all ready shooters at any moment. So you definitely can’t relax. There isn’t one player on the court that you can relax against because they’re all able at any point to shoot or be aggressive.”
Scouting Southern Illinois
Southern Illinois returns all five starters from last season.
SIU was one of five teams in the Missouri Valley Conference with 10 conference wins or more in 2014-15.
Assistant Jessica Jenkins is scouting Southern Illinois.
“They play really hard. They’ve got a couple really good post players. They have a really good inside game,” Jenkins said. “They have a couple returning guards who get to the rim really well. But their two biggest things are they play really hard and they crash the offensive glass really hard.
“They have quite a few newcomers, so it’s always interesting to see how freshmen adjust to playing. Are they going to get a lot of time early in the year or not? You never really know so we have to adjust on the fly with stuff like that. But, they play pretty hard so they probably go pretty deep to keep fresh legs in.”
Happy Birthday, Coach T!
Assistant Coach Tiara “T” Johnson celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The normal Taco Tuesday was know as “T’s Taco Tuesday” for the day, as the staff took her out to La Cocina, a Mexican restaurant in Allegany, then out for chocolate strawberry shakes from Cold Stone Creamery for birthday desert.