Each of the last two seasons has represented a major breakthrough for the women’s basketball team. With any luck, the 2011-12 campaign will be no different. The Lady Hoyas shocked the Big East and the nation in 2009-10 with a 25-win season and first-round victory in the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 1993. The following year, they broke even more new ground by reaching the Sweet 16 and nearly toppling the Connecticut Huskies, a national juggernaut.

Now, the squad that Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy spent years putting together has finally matured. With six experienced seniors in the rotation and guard Monica McNutt the only loss from last year’s squad, the Lady Hoyas will enter the season poised to make a run at the Big East title.

McNutt’s departure will force star junior guard Sugar Rodgers to work harder than ever to terrorize defenses, but senior forward Tia Magee and senior guard Rubylee Wright will likely make strides offensively to shoulder some of the scoring load. If the Lady Hoyas continue to buy into Williams-Flournoy’s high-pressure defensive scheme, they could be headed for heretofore uncharted territory.

Thousands of students flock to Verizon Center on winter nights for their Hoya basketball fix. But with the men’s team rebuilding and Williams-Flournoy’s ready to dominate, the big attraction this year may be at humble McDonough Arena.

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