Sizing up another high school girls' basketball season, from A to Z:
A is for Alexander, as in Lindsay Alexander, a hard-working and versatile point guard for Lower Moreland. The 5-foot-11 senior averaged 16 points per game last season and enters the 2008-09 campaign with 1,222 career points.
B is for Boone, as in Abington's Ajanae Boone, a 5-11 senior wing guard and transfer from Cardinal Dougherty. Paired with 6-2 junior Emily Leer, the Rhode Island signee aids the bid for a Suburban One League National Conference title.
C is for Coaches vs. Cancer. Tomorrow at 2 p.m., in an event benefiting that worthy cause, Hallahan plays Archbishop Wood at St. Matthew School in Northeast Philly. Hallahan's Mike Gibson and Wood's Jim Ricci are former CYO Region 1 coaches.
D is for Dionne, as in Dionne Harris. A quick and high-scoring performer for Frankford last season, the 5-10 junior guard has transferred to Imhotep Charter. With an influx of solid transfers, the Panthers should make noise at the Class AA level.
E is for Engineering and Science, which will try to defend its Public League championship without Keisha Hampton, a 1,211-point career scorer now at DePaul.
F is for Formica, as in Courtney Formica. The smart and talented senior guard for Perkiomen Valley will continue her career at Philadelphia University.
G is for Glemser, as in the Suburban One League husband-wife coaching combo of Eric and Heather (nee Weindorfer) Glemser. Eric is in his sixth season at Hatboro-Horsham, and Heather is in her fourth year at Central Bucks West.
H is for Hagedorn, as in Elle Hagedorn. The high-leaping Hagedorn, headed for Harvard, is back for defending PIAA Class AAA state champion Mount St. Joseph and veteran coach John Miller.
I is for Interboro, which has a new head coach in Jody Boon. Boon, an employee of the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, will try to instill the same winning attitude in the Bucs, led by 5-11 senior Fran Straccione.
J is for Janaiah, as in Janaiah Elum, a whirlwind point guard for Northeast. The tiny junior, an excellent dribbler and passer, will try to lead the Vikings, 20-8 last season, back to the Class AAAA state tournament.
K is for Kunkle, as is Marissa Kunkle, a 5-5 senior guard and three-point threat for Pennridge. The Rams also have dangerous shooters in senior guard/forward Lindsey Lyons and junior guard Jordan Dominic.
L is for Lennon, as in Shipley's Alex Lennon, a 6-2 senior that inspires fear in Friends Schools League foes. She is considering American, East Stroudsburg, West Chester and Kean for college.
M is for Methacton, which joins the Pioneer Athletic Conference after claiming the Suburban One League American Conference title, in 16-0 fashion, last season. The leader for the Warriors is junior point guard Lauren Ruhl (11.2 ppg.).
N is for Nike, as in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. Cardinal O'Hara and Archbishop Carroll, two high-powered Catholic League squads, will participate in the prestigious event from Dec. 18 to Dec. 22.
O is for opportunity, as in the opportunity O'Hara (Class AAAA) and Carroll (Class AAA) might have to win state championships in March. The Catholic League is in its first year as a full-fledged member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.
P is for Powell, as in Penn Charter's Aleesha Powell. The 5-7 sophomore point guard, a finalist for area rookie-of-the-year honors last season, is the driving force behind the Quakers.
Q is for Quintana, as in Quintana "Quinnie" Washington. University City's 5-4 junior guard/forward is a capable long-range bomber. Desiree Lawrence, a 5-3 senior lead guard, will be looking for Washington.
R is for Rutan, as in Springside's Katie Rutan. The 5-8 sharpshooter, bound for Xavier, is healthy again after missing all of last season with a wrist injury. That spells T, as in trouble, for Inter-Ac League opponents.
S is for Sandone and Schmidt, as in Souderton's Brittany Sandone and Monica Schmidt. Sandone, a 5-7 junior guard who averaged 10.3 points last season, and Schmidt, a 6-foot senior forward and shot-blocking force, make up a strong one-two punch.
T is for trey, as in the three-point shot. The area's top threats from beyond the arc include Germantown Academy's Maggie Lucas, Lower Merion's Elizabeth "Lil" Carney, Archbishop Carroll's Kerri Shields and Abington's Jen Kelly.
U is for Urie, as in Emerald Urie. A 5-10 sophomore for Bodine, Urie is a solid shot-blocker for coach Carlos dos Santos and the Ambassadors, who have won back-to-back District 12 Class AA titles.
V is for Vanguards, as in the Sun Valley Vanguards. After winning the Del-Val League title, Frank Ridpath's squad, powered by speedy guard Kelly Custer and 5-11 forward Sam Wilson, moves to the Ches-Mont League American Division.
W is for Worku, as in Lower Merion's Kiki Worku. The 6-foot junior forward, a rebounding and steal-making machine, was a key contributor for the Aces last year after transferring in from Gahanna Lincoln High in Ohio.
X is for the X's and O's that Southeastern Pennsylvania coaches will feverishly draw up, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, this season.
Y is for Yacenda, as in Amber Yacenda. Yacenda, a 5-11 senior for Downingtown East, quietly and effectively plays in the shadow of 6-foot classmate Kristen Blye. The Cougars, with those two patrolling the painted area, will again be a force.
Z is for Zisengwe, as in Girard College's Shamiso Zisengwe. The 5-3 junior reserve guard is back and ready to go for the Cavaliers, runners-up to Sacred Heart in the District 1 Class A tournament last year.
Rick O'Brien: The Inquirer TOP 10
Team 2007-08 Record
Last season's final rankings are in parentheses.
1. Cardinal O'Hara (1) 25-2
With four Division I senior signees, led by 6-foot-4 center Stephanie Holzer, the Lions are contenders for a PIAA Class AAAA state title.
2. Archbishop Carroll (2) 19-8
The Patriots are nearly as imposing as Catholic League arch-rival O'Hara. Expect another league championship showdown between the powers.
3. Downingtown East (4) 28-2
The Cougars have four starters back from a squad that won the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA crown and advanced to the second round of states.
4. Germantown Academy (7) 22-8
Jesse Carey (10.7 points per game) and Maggie Lucas (19.5 ppg.) make up the area's best backcourt tandem. Tory Thierolf (8 ppg.) is also back.
5. Villa Maria (8) 24-6
Veteran coach Kathy McCartney has a solid nucleus in 6-1 forward Erin Mann, point guard Ellen Cannon and wing guard Brooke Angelos.
6. Abington (NR) 23-7
On paper, this starting five looks as good as any in the Suburban One League. Emily Leer and transfer Aganae Boone are the catalysts.
7. Archbishop Wood (5) 23-3
The Vikings boast a top-notch forward in St. Joseph's recruit Ashley Robinson. Jenelle Hudson and Jen Maxwell are quality senior guards.
8. Notre Dame (NR) 24-8
Can Devon Kane and the Irish make a serious run at ending Germantown Academy's 10-year hold on the Inter-Ac League crown?
9. Lower Merion (NR) 21-9
Molly Hanlon, Elizabeth "Lil" Carney, Amy Woods and Kiki Worku make the balanced Aces the favorite in the Central league.
10. Cheltenham (NR) 15-11
The Panthers were young and error-prone last season. This year, with point guard Shayla Felder at the controls, should be a lot different.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Central (18-8), Central Bucks East (16-9), Council Rock North (17-9), Downingtown West (18-13), Mount St. Joseph (29-3), Upper Dublin (20-6).
- Rick O'Brien