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Niajah Morgan: Many of the same players for Adelphi women's basketball, but it's a new team

Niajah Morgan defends Aliyah McDonald March 11, 2017.

Niajah Morgan defends Aliyah McDonald March 11, 2017. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Even though most of the players are the same, there is a new feeling surrounding the Adelphi women’s basketball team.

Niajah Morgan and her teammates are hoping this fresh perspective will lead to big things in the coming season.

“Last year, something that held us back was comparing ourselves to the previous year, when we won the NE-10 championship,” Morgan, a guard who scored 11.0 points per game in 2017-18, said. “This year, it feels good to have a clean slate and a fresh start. We’re not trying to compare ourselves to last year. It’s a lot of the same players, but it’s a new team.”

Last year’s team did not repeat as conference champions, and instead went 14-16 and lost in the quarterfinals of the NE-10 Tournament. Its efforts to get back to the top of the league will center around Morgan, the team’s leading returning scorer.

“Her best basketball is ahead of her,” coach Missy Traversi said. “She can shoot it, she can play with her back to the basket, she can slash, and I don’t think she gets a lot of credit [for her work] on the defensive end.”

Adelphi, which opens the season on November 10 against NYIT, returns three players that made at least 20 starts and two more that started at least eight. The Panthers will also feature a pair of Division I transfers, which add to the sense of “newness” Morgan spoke about.

Boise State-transfer and German native Leonie Edringer will feature in the frontcourt, while the team also added sharpshooter Alisha Aube (formerly of Butler). Freshmen forward Emma Cuccurullo (South Hempstead, Long Island Lutheran) and guard Ashley Sampson are the other new faces.

“I think they’ve acclimated very well, along with the freshmen,” Morgan said. “Everyone has clicked from the beginning, from the coaches down to the players.”

Guards Fallyn Stephens (9.2 points per game) and Emily Miccile (8.7) join Morgan as the other returning full-time starters, while Jess Camarda and Katie Murphy (Smithtown, Hauppauge) also have starting experience.

Role-players Maeve MacNeill and Julia Strachan are back as well.

Said Morgan: “Everyone is on board, everyone has bought in and we’re just looking for a great year.”

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