|Jolene Anderson: an exciting new prospect for Schio fans|
We take a look at the Euroleague Women prospects of the reigning Italian champions Famila Schio as they look to secure a third Final Eight appearance in a row.
Last Season: Schio started the regular season like an express train with six wins in their first eight outings, but faded to finish fourth in Group B with a 7-5 record. However, they beat Rivas Ecopolis in the play-offs to secure back-to-back places at the Final Eight, only to lose all three games in Ekaterinburg.
Significant Summer Departures: Marquee player and main tower of strength inside Jantel Lavender, swingman Danielle McCray and head coach Maurizio Lasi.
Roster Review: With new head coach Miguel Mendez having already secured the Italian Super Cup and knowing what it is like to coach in a EuroLeague Women Final, optimism should be high that Schio can compete well, even in a difficult pool of teams. They still have great experience in Italian veteran wing duo Laura Macchi and Raffaella Masciadri, as well as Jen Nadalin who always does a rock solid job for the team. French Olympic center Elodie Godin returns and should benefit from skipping EuroBasket Women and she is joined in the paint by Kathrin Ress, who was a big factor on French soil for the Italian national team. Schio are strong in the five spot, with Amber Harris a newcomer and the talented 1995-born Elisa Ercoli learning her trade in the position. As Macchi and Masciadri inevitably play fewer minutes, the wings have been boosted by the arrival of Laura Spreafico, but it will be fellow newbie Jolene Anderson who excites the most. She is an all-action player and could be the main reference for the team this season. With the versatility and game-winning capabilities of Giorgia Sottana in the backcourt now complimented by Hungarian guard Katalin Honti, it looks a decent unit. Martina Mosetti and Erica Reggiani are both Italian youngsters who might try occasionally to sneak some court time.
Headline Stealer: The performances of Anderson in EuroCup Women last season were astonishing at times and her prolific scoring capabilities combined with her passing skills and ability to hustle and help out on the glass will be crucial. She has an extensive skill-set and her ability to explode in any given game, means Schio have someone who can steal a headline against absolutely anybody.
Sliding Onto The Radar: Spreafico was voted the best young player in the Italian League two years ago at Pool Commense and then showcased her three-point shooting skills at Gesam Gas Lucca last season. She is a capable perimeter sniper coming off the bench and can hold herself defensively. The 22-year-old should be setting herself the aim of cementing herself into the core rotation.
Scanning The Schedule: Perhaps unfortunate to be pitched into Group A with UMMC Ekaterinburg, the crunch games for Schio are likely to be against Good Angels Kosice, Tango Bourges Basket and Kayseri Kaski spor, with Uni Gyor very much the outsiders. One thing is for sure, Schio will want to seal their place before their last two games of the first phase which are playing on the road at Kosice and Ekaterinburg.
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In Just Ten Words: Reasonable balance of experience and youth means nothing to fear.