American must replace only one starter from last year's team, but Eagles Coach Shann Hart still refers to her team as young, with good reason: just three regulars are seniors.
That group -- guard Chanel Spriggs, forwards Maria Werries and Katryn Costenbader -- forms the backbone of the Eagles, who won four games two seasons ago, 12 games last season, and hope to establish themselves this season as the third team in the Patriot League, which is traditionally dominated by Holy Cross and Bucknell.
Toward that end, Hart beefed up American's early schedule: American plays eight of 13 nonconference games away from home, including a New Year's Eve game at North Carolina.
"We got a little ahead of the curve but dropped a couple at the end we should not have," Hart said. The Eagles lost four of their final five games, including a first-round Patriot League tournament game with Colgate.
Junior Kaitlin Schuyler returns to run the point, and two newcomers -- Joanna Barnes and Alicia Zorzetto -- will contend for minutes off the bench.
In the front court, Hart does not have the same luxury of options. Sophomore Chanel Hunt, who made the Patriot League all-rookie team last season, replaces Hollie Steinman in the starting lineup. But after that, Hart must rely on the development of 6-foot-4 freshman Katie Walsh.
"We're probably one of the most athletic teams in the league," Hart said. "We're going to take advantage of that. But our weakness, it's no secret, is in the post."
-- Steve Argeris