With the graduation of all-America Penny Moore, who led Stuart to the state title a year ago, opposing coaches can breathe a sigh of relief. But the district is far from wide open. Annandale returns experience and talent from last year's squad and a couple new faces should help Annandale assume Stuart's spot at the top. Annandale
The Atoms (18-5 overall last year) are loaded. Four of the top six players return from the only team to beat Stuart last season and the addition of two transfers give Annandale one of the strongest teams in the region.
Seniors Ann Marie Kennedy (5-foot-9, 15 points per game) and Amanda Cromwell (5-7, nine points) return to give Annandale one of the top backcourts in the region. Up front, Asia Berkley (5-9, 10 points) and Janine Fronczek (5-10, 10 points) will be joined by Karen Bradshaw, a 5-10 transfer who averaged 15 points per game last year for Jefferson.
Another transfer, Salene Green (5-11) from Alaska, gives the Atoms added size and depth.
Coach Laura Hagan says her team will take things "one day at a time" as she tries to keep the Atoms from looking ahead to post-season action to soon. Chantilly
The Chargers (6-15) had a young team last year and this year they will be even younger. Three players return from last year's squad -- two juniors and one sophomore. Add a freshman transfer and a junior up from the junior varsity and you have a green team.
Coach Kurt Chase will try and let the young aggressive players use their quickness. Transfer Kim Lauderdale (a 5-9 freshman) will run the show. Junior Ann Uleman (5-9) joins Trish Hessel (5-7, sophomore), Coleen Gannon (5-9, junior) and Sharon Cascone (5-4, junior). The team is young, but will get a break in a down year inside the district. Height is lacking, but the Chargers will be a quick club. Fairfax
The Rebels (8-13) return two starters from a year ago and will rely on several young players to make significant contributions.
Courtney Buchanan (5-3, senior), an all-district guard last season after averaging 10 points per game, will be joined by Lori McPherson (5-5, junior, six ppg) in the backcourt. Pam Green, a 5-7 senior, will take one of the forward spots.
A couple of freshmen will get their feet wet early. Mara Cunningham (6-2) and Jamie Dykes (5-8) were successful AAU players and much of the Rebels' success will depend on how quickly the youngsters adjust to the high school game. Falls Church
The Jaguars (6-16) return eight seniors and look to be much improved with this veteran team. Rebounding will be their strength and center Rebecca Graham (5-10, seven points, 10 rebounds per game) will lead the way. Jackie Cannon (5-6, 10 points) will fill one guard spot to give Falls Church a strong inside/outside combination.
Stephanie Weber (5-6, junior) should be one newcomer to see significant playing time, filling in at both guard and forward. Jefferson
The Colonials (3-18) will start fresh with new coach Neil Kyle. Kyle has four players back from last year, but they all had limited experience. Michelle McCord (5-5, senior) and juniors Danni Picco (6-0), Kate Mulligan (6-0) return along with 5-5 sophomore Laura Collins.
Three newcomers also will help, but Kyle is anxious to get past a tough non-district slate into the district schedule. Hustling man-to-man defense will be Jefferson's trademark. Stuart
The Raiders have three out of their top six players back from last year's 29-1 state championship squad. But Coach Ron Wilson's club lost three players that accounted for 90 percent of the team's scoring from a year ago.
The top returnee, 5-6 junior Liisa Barnes (eight points) broke her foot for the second time in a year and her status is in doubt. Penny Moore's sister Sylvia (four points, five rebounds) is back at forward. Angie Hall (5-9, sophomore) is back, but the backcourt is green. Wakefield
First-year coach Russell Alexander has his work cut out as he takes over a 3-21 club with little varsity experience.
Jennifer Tuccillo (5-6, senior) averaged eight points and will be counted on to provide much of the offense. Joining Tuccillo will be Tameka McGlain (5-9, sophomore) and Brita Clark (5-4, guard). Alexander hopes McGlain can give the Warriors strength on the boards and Clark can provide quickness.