For the first time in the school’s history, last year the Monroe College Lady Mustangs won the Region XV Championship and qualified for the NJCAA Division III national tournament. Problem was, despite an impressive 25-9 record for the season, they didn’t fare well in the tournament. Clearly, the goal for 2004-05 is to get back to the nationals, but then get to the top and win the championship.
"Last year we got to the base of the mountain," head coach Seth Goodman reflected. "This year, we want to get there again, but scale it to the top! To do that, no surprise, we’ve got to continue to emphasize the fundamentals of teamwork and defense."
Last year, Monroe began the season ranked in the nation’s top-five. Though un-ranked this pre-season, Coach Goodman’s Lady Mustangs believe they have a blend of returnees and star recruits and more talent and depth, especially in the front court, to achieve their goals.
This year’s co-captains were teammates at Wings Academy in the Bronx, played together on last year’s Lady Mustangs, and now seem ready to provide the kind of leadership that breed championships. Sophomore co-captain 5’6" guard Jennifer Griffin averaged 5.6 ppg last year and was second on the team with 3.5 apg. Her 31.6 3p% is an indication that she can be a versatile force in the back court.
The other co-captain is 5’9" sophomore power forward Telisha Moultrie. Epitomizing the "power" in power forward, Moultrie was second on the team with 8.4 rpg. She also chipped in 7.1 ppg and you can be sure most all of those were scored down low. Moultrie is a workhorse that you can build a winning team around.
Hampered by a knee injury last season, 6’2" sophomore center Marcenia Bellamy is now healthy and ready for a big year. Injuries aside, this 6’2" Jersey City sophomore averaged 5.2 rpg for Monroe last year. She also adds a whole lot of work ethic to her offensive and defensive play in the post.
Shavonne Richardson, a 5’5" sophomore guard from Brooklyn, will try and build on her 4.6 ppg from last year. Last year, Richardson’s biggest contributions were made as a spark plug off the bench. Coach Goodman expects more of the same this year.
Rounding out the returning players is 5’9" Mt. Vernon sophomore forward Rhona Hall who is expected to be a role player for the Lady Mustangs this season.
The best recruit on this year’s Lady Mustangs just might be freshman forward Fantasia Goodwin, a 6’0" complete package-type player from Westchester. Goodwin led the county in scoring with 36.6 ppg and set the all-time (male or female) record of 48 points in the county championship game. She can score inside, outside, and she plays good defense. What more can a coach ask for!
Another new Monroe forward who will be an impact player is Jelila Abdul-Bassit, an all-city 5’10" freshman forward form Las Vegas, who has a great jump shot and nose for the ball.
At the point for the Mustangs will be 5’5" East Orange freshman Danielle Hubbard, a guard with an excellent shooting touch and, more important, a sixth-sense "feel" for the game. Hubbard has precisely the kind of awareness you look for in a young point guard of a good team.
Two other new forwards for Monroe should add to the Lady Mustangs’ depth. Janiera Johnson, a 5’9" freshman from Queens, is a versatile athlete. She’ll play three sports at Monroe: basketball, volleyball, and softball. Johnson is a three-time high school team MVP and two-time high school team captain.
Shayla Daniels, a 5’10" freshman forward from Jersey City, is a strong rebounder who can run the floor well.
Providing depth at the guard position will be two players who played at August Martin HS: Monique Jenkins, a 5’4" sophomore, and Sherolyn Campbell, a 5’5" freshman. Also at guard is Robin Mervin, a 5’5" freshman from Manhattan.