The 2016-17 Division I women’s college basketball season is about seven weeks along and there are some surprises. Whereas Manhattan College at 4-6 and LIU at 1-10 continue to struggle, other teams are intent on continuing their forward momentum. As teams head into conference play, let’s look at the top teams in the area.
Iona College, 6-5
Sophomore guard Alexis Lewis, averaging 18.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, is the leading offensive presence for the Gaels, and senior guard Marina Lizarazu is an effective floor general with 14.3 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 steals per game. Conference rival Marist is off to a slow start, so this year might be Iona’s year.
St. John’s University, 8-3
Life after the graduation of Aliyyah Hanford and Danaejah Grant got off to a shaky start, but the Red Storm went into Christmas break on a roll. Senior forward Jade Walker is delivering on offense, averaging 11.7 points per game, and senior guard Aaliyah Lewis is dishing 4.9 assists per game.
Hofstra University, 7-3
Junior forward Ashunae Durant is keeping the Pride roaring. Averaging a double-double—16.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game—the Newark, N.J., native is also contributing assists, steals and blocked shots.
Fordham University, 9-4
Averaging a double-double, junior forward G’mrice Davis has been the Rams’ outstanding performer at 13.2 points and 12 rebounds per game. Although senior guard Danielle Burns has not been as consistent as coach Stephanie Gaitley would like, she did garner attention in The New York Times for her academic achievements—earning a bachelor’s degree in three years and currently working toward her masters.
Columbia University, 8-2
The perennially underachieving Lions had a strong opening to the season under new coach Megan Griffith. With Ivy League powerhouse Princeton off to a bumpy 5-6 start, there is an opening for the Lions to assert NY/NJ conference dominance. Junior guard/forward Camille Zimmerman leads all scorers with 20.9 points per game, followed by senior forward Tori Oliver with 13.3 points.
Army West Point, 9–2
The future leaders of the U.S. military are playing some hard-nosed basketball. Sophomore forward Madison Hovren is the leading scorer at 19 points per game. Junior guard Janae McNeal is leading in assists and steals with four and 2.5, respectively.