LIVE BLOG: NEC Media Day, Part One

Post Media Day Thoughts 

That will wrap up the first day of NEC Media Day, focusing on women’s basketball. Overall, this was a whole new experience for me as I was there in person last year for Media Day. 

This will be a season like no other as this is our new normal for now. However, the first day has excited me for the season and what is to come once the first game tips off on Nov. 25. 

Thank you all for joining us and please join us tomorrow at noon, as Men’s Basketball will be in the spotlight with the preseason poll and preseason all-NEC team released. We will also hear from all 10 coaches and one player from each team as well, to conclude 2020 NEC Virtual Media Day. 

Thank you to Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Scalzo and managing editor Amaya Morales for producing this blog, along with Naniyah McClain and Charles Elmo for keeping our social media up to date. See you tomorrow! 

1:54 p.m. 

Wagner head coach Heather Jacobs and Senior guard Khaleah Edwards join Media Day as the final team for the day. 

Wagner is projected to finish sixth in the preseason poll after going 10-20 last year and finishing ninth in the standings. 

“I feel like I can guard anyone on the floor whether it’s one to five . Defense is a team staple. I am very grateful to be here on this journey, it has been amazing,” Edwards said. I’ve always been big on my physical and mental preparation. It’s important to be locked-in on every game and give it your all. Mental preparation is so important,”Edwards said. 

“There are times where we reflect back in the past and we continue to say where we need to be better and communicate it amongst the team,” Jacobs said. 

1:46 p.m. 

Saint Francis University (Pennsylvania) head coach Keila Whittington and senior guard Karson Swogger join Media Day to talk about the 2020-2021 season. 

Saint Francis is coming off an 11-19 record last season where they finished fourth in the standings. They are projected to finish third in the preseason poll with Whittington entering her second season as head coach. 

“In order for us to really be successful we needed the team and staff chemistry to be better this year,” Whittington said. “I feel they are ready to do big things this year,” she added. 

“Being a nursing major, it was tough to balance at first, but with the workload being less now, I have gotten more time to get into the gym and play. We have all the building foundations and we got to keep growing from there,” Swogger said. 

1:36 p.m. 

Saint Francis Brooklyn head coach Linda Cimino and senior forward Ally Lassen join Media Day to discuss the season. 

Saint Francis Brooklyn finished10th in the standings last year and is projected to finish ninth this year. 

“I’m super excited for this year. I can’t wait to get on the court with my team. We are more confident in playing with the system this year,” Lassen said. “I work a lot in the offseason, The more I shoot, the more I play,” she said. 

“We hope to play better defensively this year. We have some speed and quickness in our backcourt this year and mixing in more zone defense this year. We’re working on the small details on defense,” Cimino said. 

1:26 p.m. 

Sacred Heart head coach Jessica Mannetti and preseason All-NEC senior guard Adriannce Hagood join Media Day to talk about their upcoming season. 

Sacred Heart is ranked second in the preseason poll after finishing fourth last year with a record of 13-17. 

“These ladies want a ring. That hungry piece is going to be a driving force this year,” Mannetti said. “Our goal is to be top 4 in the conference every year. Our goal is to be the best in the conference and get a ring. We have to position ourselves to be in the best place to win the ring,” she added. 

“Primarily, I work on my pull-up and midrange game is important. Focusing on my communication with my team on and off the court. I want to be a leader for them,” Hagood said. “I want to pass along that culture of being a senior leader on this team,” she added. 

1:13 p.m. 

Mount Saint Mary’s Head Coach Maria Marchesano and redshirt senior guard Kayla Agentowicz join Media Day. 

Mount Saint Mary’s was unanimously ranked first in the preseason poll this year after they finished 20-11 last season. 

“We want to be a defensive team. This is what wins games. It keeps you on the floor and wins games. It’s about understanding offense and defense with our new players,” Agentowicz said. 

“We have so many players on this team that can put the ball in the hole and from three as well,” Marchesano added. “We have to stay ready this season. All 13 of us need to stay ready for this season with COVID,” she added. 

12:55 p.m. 

Merrimack head coach Kelly Marrone and junior guard Kate Mager join Media Day. Morrone is entering her first season as head coach. Merrimack is projected to finish seventh this year. 

Merrimack finished 20-9 and third in the standings last year but was unable to go to the playoffs due to its reclassification to Division 1. 

“Our goal is to get better every day. We are making the most out of every day. We want to get each other better every day. Having each player say I can lead this team was amazing. We wanted to stay in shape when the new coach came in,” Mager said. 

“We have done some fun team activities and their health and well-being is important to us and counting our blessings that we have a season,” Coach Morrone added. 

12:44 p.m. 

LIU is coming off a season where they finished 8-22 and are projected to finish fifth this year. 

Coach Rene Haynes is entering her second season as head coach and is joined by pre-season All-NEC selectionj guard Brandy Thomas for Media Day. 

“Brandy brings that fire on and off the court. We have leaders on and off the court. We have leaders on the court who lead defensively. We have leaders all over the court,” Haynes said. 

“I am really focused on being mature and a better leader to put our team in the best position to win this year,” Thomas added. 

12:38 p.m. 

FDU head coach Angelika Szumilo and fifth-year guard Elise Graham join D’Amico and Roecker to talk about their upcoming season. 

Coach Szumilo is entering her second season as head coach and earned the Knights’ first NEC Tournament win since 1992 last season. 

“Everything was new last year. We have five new freshmen with our returning players to implement everything. It takes a long time to build a culture of success,” Szumilo said. 

FDU is projected to finish fourth this year in the preseason poll. 

“Be aggressive, defense will tell you what to do. The importance of the three-point shot is that everyone can shoot the three on our team. Continue to put emphasis on being aggressive,” Szumilo added. 

“Coach Ang and her staff implemented everything they wanted to teach us last year and as coach said we have unfinished business this year,” said Graham. 

“We have the winner’s approach, which is what we call it,” Graham added. 

12:27 p.m. 

CCSU’s interim head coach Kerri Reaves and senior guard and forward Ashley Forker join to talk about the upcoming season. 

CCSU is coming off a last place finish where they went 4-25 last season. 

“We picked up the tempo in practice. We do a lot of things at a high pace and prepare for this high tempo. We need to score more,” Reaves said. 

“The grind and preparation hurts but it is all worth it. It is making me ready and we want to be ready. Each day you have to have that mentality of being ready.” Forker added. 

12:20 p.m. 

Bryant women’s basketball head coach Mary Burke and senior center Brooke Bjelko are the first team to speak today. 

“We always do drills where we have a lot of contact, diving to get the ball, where Coach Burke is on the sideline always pushing us to get through it.” Bjelko said 

“I’ve been really happy with our incoming class, they have been prepared with their mentality. I’m excited with their energy and what they bring.” Burke added. 

12:13 p.m. 

NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris joins the live stream to talk about the upcoming season and how the last six months have been spent planning the upcoming basketball season for both men’s and women’s basketball. 

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there are a lot of steps to get to that end of the tunnel.” Morris said. 

12:10 p.m. 

The 2020-21 NEC Women’s Basketball Preseason ALL-NEC team has been released as well. The starting five are: 

1. Sophomore Guard Nevena Dimitrijevic, St. Francis Brooklyn 

2. Senior Guard Adrianne Hagood, Sacred Heart 

3. Junior Guard Michaela Harrison, Mount Saint Mary’s 

4. Junior Forward Emilija Krista Grava, Wagner 

5. Junior Forward Brandy Thomas, LIU 

12:04 p.m. 

The 2020-21 NEC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll has been released. The poll is as follows: 

1. Mount Saint Mary’s (unanimous) 

2. Sacred Heart 

3. Saint Francis 

4. Fairleigh Dickinson 

5. LIU 

6. Wagner 

7. Merrimack 

8. Bryant 

9. St. Francis Brooklyn 

10. Central Connecticut State 

12:00 p.m. 

NEC Media Day is officially underway as former Wagner women’s basketball coach Pam Roecker joins the live stream to talk about the upcoming season with NEC broadcaster, Craig D’Amico. 

Pre NEC Media Day Update 

Good afternoon, everyone! 

Welcome to the first day of NEC Virtual Media Day coverage brought to you by The Equinox. I’m Anthony Covino, the sports editor for The Equinox. I will be joined by fellow sports writer, Jennifer Malti, to help with today’s coverage. Our Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Scalzo, and Managing Editor Amaya Morales, will produce the live blog. Social media updates will be run by Naniyah McClain and Charles Elmo. 

It has been a long time coming, but we can finally say NEC sports are back. After the NEC postponed play in early March due to the pandemic, no other sports have played until now. Both men’s and women’s basketball are scheduled to tip-off on Nov. 25. FDU released their non-conference schedules for both men’s and women’s this week with limited travelling due to the pandemic. 

At the moment, it is unknown whether or not the NEC and its members will allow fans in arenas, but we hope to have an answer to that once the season approaches. This is a media day like no other. Last year, it was held at the Barclays Center; this year we will be completely virtual. During these next two days, we will hear from all the coaches from both men’s and women’s basketball teams and the yearly preseason polls and preseason All-NEC teams will be released as well. On that note, sit back and enjoy NEC sports… actually just basketball being back in full swing.

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Photo courtesy of official NEC thread