Speed. Height. Defense. Those are probably the three most accurate terms to describe this year's edition of the Seton girls basketball squad.
Seton finished 17-4 last season and won the tough, Division I Catholic League championship. This winter, Seton should feel Holy Cross tugging at its jersey; however, Coach Ginny Pontious' girls should remain head-and-shoulders above the rest of the major Catholic League powers.
Senior Linda Jenkins, a 5-foot-5 starter at guard last year, returns and along with her 11 points a game average provides the speed.
Connie Hanlen, a 6-1 senior center who averaged 10 points last season, also returns. She's the height.
Finally, 5-6 Laurie Sanders is described by Pontious as "a spark plug and quick on defense."
Despite seven varsity returners, Pontious is quick to declare, "The league will be competitive this year. Also, unlike last year, there will be a tournament at the end of the year, which will help all the teams."
If Seton stumbles, look for Holy Cross to take control. Coach Ron Perrell has two key starters remaining from last year's 17-7 team that was runner-up to Seton for the league title.
Senior center Lynne Hanrahan (5-11, second team all-Catholic, 11.0 points, 9.8 rebounds) and 5-7 point guard Sharon Fegan will provide the leadership.
O'Connell, All Saints and La Reine will try to keep pace with the Seton and Holy Cross.
Coach Pat Deegan's O'Connell squad has seven returning, including two starters, from last season's 18-8 team.
Kerry Albrittain (5-7, first team all-Catholic, 12.5 points, eight rebounds), a junior, will be at a forward slot again this season, with senior Karen Burch (nine points, four rebounds), at guard.
Deegan also will rely on three players that started at one time or another last season: Nancy Goldbranson, Aimee Gravette and Lena Hahn.
All Saints, formerly St. Anthony's, lost first team all-Met Penny Toler to graduation.
New Coach Bertha Bell, who replaced Darryl Tolliver, does have six returners from last year's team, led by the trio of Lisa Lewis, a 5-9 center; Tawanna Peterson, a 5-2 point guard, and Lavonda Sommerville, a 5-6 point guard.
La Reine will try to better last year's 11-12 mark. Coach Ed McNamara will depend on seniors Charlmayne Sugars, a 6-0 forward (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Ronnie Pearson, a 5-7 guard, along with 6-2 center Angela Austin.
Holy Names will again be the pace setter among the Division II schools in the Catholic League. It won the division championship last season, finishing 20-4, and Coach Jack Sullivan returns four starters from that squad.
Seniors Susie Steffes (third team all-Catholic), Tricia Sullivan (5-8 forward, third team all-Catholic), Karen O'Brien (5-8 forward) and center Heidi Franke (14 rebounds, 11 points) are returning starters. In addition, 5-3 senior point guard Cindy Deffinbaugh is back.
Pallotti, Notre Dame, Regina and Holy Spirit will provide the stiffest competition for Holy Names.
Pallotti, 9-17 a year ago, returns sophomore Suzanne Campbell, who attained third team all-Catholic honors last year as a freshman.
Georgetown Visitation won last year's Independent Schools Physical Education Association championship with a 16-2 record, and has seven players back..
Coach Chrissy Reese will depend on senior starters 5-9 Missy Begelow (15 points, nine rebounds), 5-11 Maureen Reese (12 points, eight rebounds) and 5-9 Peggy Judge (eight points) to team with 6-3 sophomore Sara Strike (11 points, 12 rebounds) and 5-7 point guard Maura Wach.
NCS Coach Marian Focke has eight returners back from last year's 14-3 team. Focke has one of the most experienced and tallest squads in the area, led by 6-2 center JoJo Rein (17 points, 10 rebounds, eight blocks per game). Rein will be flanked by 5-11 forward Meredith Binder.
Immaculata finished 17-6 last year, but had its string of seven consecutive ISPEA titles ended. It tries to get back on top with Claire Magner, Colleen McCloskey and Rachel Gugliemo.
Holton Arms and Sidwell Friends, both 8-5 last season, will be battling to get above .500 this season. Each has three players returning. Maret will look to six returners to improve on last year's 4-11 mark.
Model Coach Dennis Downey has Sonya Forton, Adrienne Peterson and Kathy Gibson back from last season's 12-8 squad.