This season lone Italian team in EuroLeague Women last year made the Final Eight after upsetting the defending champions Perfumerias Avenida in the quarterfinals. Schio went home with a win in the F8, which gave them the 7th place. Domestically it was not as positive after they lost to their main competition Cras Taranto in both Italian Cup and also in the Italian A1 league playoffs.
In the offseason that meant overhaul of team’s foreigners. Out went Cheryl Ford, Janel McCarville, Aija Brumermane, Ivana Jalcova, Maja Erkic and Liron Cohen and in came Kathy Wambe, Elodie Godin, Danielle McCray and Jantel Lavender as well as Italian talent Giorgia Sottana.
It’s hard to evaluate if there’s any improvement inside. Cheryl Ford is a superb rebounder, while Jantel Lavender is just solid. On the other hand Lavender is a better offensive player who doesn’t have major issues with freethrow shooting. It’s similar with Elodie Godin and Janel McCarville one was last season better in ELW (Godin), while the other one was better in Italian league (McCarville). It all comes down to McCarville being on a decline in her career, while Godin showed as recently as in the Olympics that she’s still has value – she had the best net +/- on the silver medal winning French NT. Godin and Lavender will be aided by the returning Jennifer Nadalin and periodically by Emanuela Ramon. Signing of Danielle McCray frees Schio to use Laura Macchi as a PF in certain situations.
Danielle McCray is a significant boost outside if she can follow up her last season’s 43% FG (44% 3p) shooting with something comparable this season. She is better than anyone on Schio’s roster at creating her own shot and a vast improvement over Erkic and Jalcova. Getting rid of Liron Cohen is understandable from her inconsistency and awful 3p shooting standpoint last season, but she was still good in her primary objective – distributing the ball with a good (for ELW) A/TO ratio of 1.6 (her career A/TO is 1.36). To replace the void left by her Schio have brought in two point guards – Wambe and Sottana. Neither of them is a historically better shooter or ball distributor than Cohen. So unless there was a conflict within the team that’s just a change for the sake of changing something.
Raffaella Masciadri and Laura Macchi will be important parts of the team, though their level of play is slowly decreasing as both of them are now past their prime. Masciadri’s production has been decreasing ever since 2008. What once was 13.4 PPG now is 7.7 PPG. Macchi in recent years has been on swings with her production exceeding her career average one year and falling short of it the other. If that continues this will be a sub-average season for her. Both of them should benefit from the arrival of McCray who will ease up the load on them on the wings, allowing to use what’s left in their tanks more effectively.
Schio can call themselves lucky in the group draw – they received two superior teams, one team of their level and three inferior ones. Not making the playoffs shouldn’t be an option. All they have to do is get the best possible seeding in the playoffs to avoid running in to some of the top teams before the Final Eight.