American Division. Cherry Hill East is the pick of the coaches, and the major reason is the presence of Marie Boisvert, a 5-foot-9 senior, who was an Inquirer third-team all-South Jersey selection last season.
Boisvert averaged 17 points and eight rebounds. The other returning starter is 5-6 senior Brittany Muniz, who averaged 8 points and 4.2 assists, while earning second-team all-conference honors.
A key for the Cougars will be the progress made by five seniors: guard Lillian Chukwueze, Caroline DiBartolomeo, Rachel Sisholtz and Courtney Workman and senior forward Michelle Onu.
Cherokee returns just one starter but expects to field yet another competitive unit. Sara Farrell, a 6-0 senior who averaged 4.2 points and 4.1 rebounds, is the lone returning starter.
Letter winners returning include senior guards Gina McCool and Tiara Mosley. Newcomers from the junior varsity include senior forwards/centers Melissa Lake and Krystine Rice.
Washington Township went from South Jersey Group 4 champion in 2009 to a 5-19 team last season that was hit hard by graduation. A key will be replacing second-team all-South Jersey guard Ashley Giedemann.
Two newcomers to watch are Giedemann's twin sisters, Kelly Giedemann and Kylie Giedemann, both 5-6. Returning veterans include senior center Kelsey Brown, senior guard Delia Mercurio, and sophomore point guard Amanda Ray.
Few teams face a bigger rebuilding job than Eastern, which among others must replace two-time Inquirer South Jersey player of the year Genevieve Okoro, now at Richmond.
Senior guards Michelle Dixon and Tori Neill are the players returning with the most experience from last season's South Jersey Group 4 champion. Two other key seniors include guard Cindy Nguyen and forward/center Amy Solinski. A newcomer to watch is 5-8 sophomore Sara Kane.
Patriot Division. Timber Creek is the pick to win the division, with four returning starters led by guard Jasmine Martin (22.1 ppg.). Also back are senior guard Alexis Riiff, a second-team all-conference choice, who averaged 10 points and four assists, senior forward Sierra Peters (8 ppg.) and senior guard Raven Jones.
Shawnee appears ready to improve on last season's 7-16 record, with four returning starters, led by junior forward Erin Molina, a second-team all-conference selection.
Pennsauken moves from the American to the Patriot. Pennsauken loses just one starter, but it was Inquirer third-team all-South Jersey selection Courtney Edmonds.
The returning starters are 5-8 junior point guard Vanessa Neal, 5-9 junior guard/forward Tatiana Paris, 5-5 junior guard Dominique Roberts, and 5-7 junior forward Lati Stafford. Paris, however, has been sidelined with a knee injury, so her status is uncertain. Neal has received Division I interest, according to coach Laura Bell.
This is still a young team, with the only senior being 5-8 forward Erica Butler, a returning letter winner.
Triton will bank on two returning starters in hopes of improving on its 7-19 season. Deja Bullock, a 6-0 sophomore forward, was a second-team all-conference choice. Triton's other returning starter is 5-3 senior guard Kaylee Mitchell.
The key to success will be the development of a number of returning letter winners – sophomore guards Samantha Funk, Amanda Noll, and Randi Fisher; senior forward Chelsea Tinsley; sophomore forward Bridget Parker; and junior forward Marissa Martucci.
Cherry Hill West returns two starters: senior point guard Lisa Kosteleski (7.8 ppg.) and senior guard Taylor Klevenz, a second-team all-conference choice who averaged 10.6 points.
Winslow Township appears to be rebuilding after an 11-9 season and a loss to Cherry Hill East, 47-46, in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs. The Eagles will build around two returning senior starters - 5-7 Geneva McCoy and 5-5 Tashay March.
National Division. Camden Catholic won the Olympic Conference National Division, going 12-0 in divisional play, and remains the favorite to defend its crown.
The Irish return four starters, led by the inside-outside combination of senior center Addy Crenny and junior point guard Nicole Angelo. Other starters back are senior guard/forward Caitlyn Brostrand and junior shooting guard Kelsey Kilpatrick.
Senior guard-forward Taylor Madden, senior forward/center Caitlyn McGinley, and junior guard Kelly Lineman are returning letter winners. The Irish don't have much height but make up for it with team speed.
Bishop Eustace has named Jackie Barnes as interim coach after head coach Kat Burke recently gave birth to her second child.
The team leader is Hope Phillips, a 6-2 senior and St. Francis (Pa.) recruit.
After sharing the Olympic Conference Patriot Division, Seneca moves into the National Division, where the Golden Eagles could contend.
Brittany Snow, a 5-11 junior, averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds while earning all-conference honors. The Golden Eagles will be strong in the backcourt with returning senior guards Melissa Giunta and Kristy Connor.
Woodrow Wilson has a nice mix of youth and experience and expects to improve from a 10-15 season. The youth is provided by 5-7 freshman point guard Chanelle Perry and 6-0 freshman forward Shanyah Allen, both projected starters. Perry could be one of the better young players in South Jersey.
Shanice Maynard, a 5-10 senior, should reach 1,000 points according to coach Mark Phillips, while 5-9 Janye Sims, who missed most of the season with a knee injury, has returned. Junior Kamari Talley, a 6-0 transfer from Camden Charter, is a key addition.
Paul VI looks to continue improvement from a 12-12 season. The Eagles welcome back two starters - 6-3 junior Adriene Small, a second-team all-conference selection, and 5-10 senior forward Stephanie McDonnell.
Camden's new coach is Joe Carter, a former men's assistant at Rutgers-Camden. Carter's top returning player is Lynette Payton, a 6-1 junior, who will miss the beginning of the season. Payton is recovering from a knee injury and is not expected to be cleared until sometime in January.
- Marc Narducci