CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2021-22 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 9. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)
Philadelphia basketball is everywhere.
More than 150 student-athletes who are from the Philadelphia area are playing Division I men’s and women’s hoops this year, spread throughout many of the country’s 30-plus conferences and 350-plus D-I programs. There are players in their seventh year of college, those primed for a breakout year, those who’ve already become legends at the schools they attend, and everything in between.
We’ve split the area’s current Division I players into a multi-part list, something we’ve done for several years on the men’s side and are now doing for the first time on the women’s side, with more than 50 local prospects now playing at the highest levels of collegiate basketball. Here’s the first half of our women’s roundup:
(This is our first attempt at a women’s alumni list, so we're sure the list isn't complete. If we’re missing someone, let us know: email@example.com)
Katie Armstrong (Grad./Seton Hall)
Heading into her final year of eligibility, the Perk Valley graduate is on her third team and her first season with the Pirates. After one year at St. Joe’s, Armstrong transferred to Fairfield where the 6-foot-2 guard was a two-time All-MAAC Second Team selection. Averaged 10.9 ppg and 6.6 rpg last year and finished top 10 in the conference in blocked shots.
Garnet Valley grad Brianne Borcky averaged 11 minutes per game in 18 appearances last season for Drexel. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Amaris Baker (Fr./Kennesaw State)
The Cardinal O'Hara graduate brings toughness and shooting to the Owls roster. A versatile athlete, the 5-foot-7 guard helped the Lions win the PIAA 5A state title last year.
Rachel Balzer (RS-Soph./George Mason)
After a redshirt year, the Germantown Academy graduate got right back to what she thrives at: hitting 3-pointers. Balzer led the Patriots with 35 makes from behind the line. She will aim to up her shooting percentages and her 5.6 ppg average this season.
Bridget Birkhead (Gr/Radford): Birkhead will be spending her final year with a new program after transferring from Mt Saint Mary's. Birkhead was a top reserve for the Mount last year, averaging 7.2 ppg in 21.6 minutes per game and hit 39 shots from beyond the arc. The CB East graduate, a 5-foot-11 guard, was a terrific outside threat in Maryland, hitting 173 career treys in four seasons including a career-best 60 as a junior
Brianne Borcky (Jr./Drexel)
The 6-foot Garnet Valley graduate will strive to take an increased role for the Dragons after averaging 11 minutes per game in 18 appearances. An outstanding student, Borcky was awarded the team's Steven Sher Academic Award for a second straight season.
Siobhan Boylan (Fr./Marist)
The Cardinal O'Hara graduate brings her versatile game to the Red Foxes. The 5-foot-11 guard can make a big shot, make the key pass and defends well, earning second team All-PCL honors as a senior.
Alexa Brodie (Jr./Colgate)
Listed at just 5-foot-6, Brodie plays with relentless effort and even in a limited schedule last year, averaged 13 ppg. A 2019-20 Patriot League All-Rookie Team selection, the CB South grad has started 28 of 30 college games and will serve as a team captain this coming year.
Anajah Brown (Fr./Siena)
An outstanding high school player at The Baldwin School, Brown was the program’s first player to earn first team all-state plaudits, earning a spot in Class 4A last year after averaging 17.4 ppg and 10.2 rpg. The 6-foot-1 forward is a skilled scorer and could contend for a role early on.
Maddie Burke (Soph./Penn State)
The 2019-20 PA Class 6A Player of the Year out of CB West fit right in with the Nittany Lions. Burke was named the Big Ten's Sixth Player of the Year and to the All-Freshman team, displaying her lights-out shooting touch while hitting 58 shots from beyond the arc, good for 38th nationally overall and fifth among freshmen. Played all 24 games, starting 11 and averaged 8.9 ppg.
Anna Camden (Jr./Penn State)
A rotation fixture since her arrival, the all-time leading scorer at the Shipley School started 23 of 24 games last season, posting averages of 7.8 ppg and 3.3 rpg. The Downingtown native recorded her first collegiate double-double in the first game of her sophomore year.
Downingtown native Anna Camden, left, and Doylestown's Maddie Burke, right, were key contributors last season as Penn State advanced to the Big Ten Tournament. Also pictured is Penn State guard Tova Sabel. (Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)
Denae Carter (Fr./Mississippi State)
Carter heads to the SEC after a storied career at St. Basil Academy, where she became the program's all-time leading scorer and went 4-for-4 in AACA and District 1 Class 3A title games. A smooth and athletic 6-foot forward, Carter is dynamic attacking the rim but can also shoot the ball.
Kate Connolly (Sr./Drexel)
A solid all-around player who fills a variety of roles for the Dragons, Connolly will be counted on again this season. The Souderton graduate started 16 of her 19 appearances and led the team with 18 blocks while averaging 7.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 1.1 apg.
Cardinal O'Hara graduate Kenzie Gardler has given Villanova backcourt depth in her first two seasons with the Wildcats. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Kenzie Gardler (Jr./Villanova)
A two-time PCL champion and 1,000 point scorer at Cardinal O'Hara, Gardler has given the Wildcats dependable depth at the guard spot in her career on the Main Line. Played in 21 games last season, including a career-high 11-point outing and should continue to get minutes in the backcourt.
Kaylie Griffin (Fr./Saint Joseph's)
It'll be a family affair as Griffin joins the Hawks to play for her mother, head coach Cindy Griffin. Kaylie was just the third player to score 1,000 points for Gwynedd Mercy Academy and ended her high school career with an all-state selection
Jaye Haynes (Soph./La Salle)
The former Germantown Academy standout made 25 appearances in her first college season. Dad Jonathan played point guard at Villanova.
Zamara Haynes (Soph./University of Maryland Eastern Shore)
A 5-foot-7 guard out of Imhotep Charter, Haynes is making her college debut this year after losing the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maura Hendrixson (Sr./Drexel)
An off-guard with great vision, Hendrixson started in all 18 of her appearances last season. The Cardinal O'Hara product was second on the team with 76 assists and had solid all-around numbers with 6.6 points, 4.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. A solid shooter, Hendrixson hit 34.7% from beyond the arc and 75% from the free throw line.
Diamond Johnson (Soph./NC State)
The guard made waves this offseason when she transferred to the Wolfpack after a stellar freshman year at Rutgers. A 5-foot-5 guard with incredible range, Johnson is also a member of the USA Basketball player pool, and the Neumann-Goretti graduate was Second Team All-Big Ten, posting 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals in 19 games.
Megan Jonassen (Sr./Fordham)
An offensive rebound machine, the Perkiomen Valley graduate has finished each of her three college seasons with more offensive boards than defensive. Has been a mainstay in the rotation since her freshman year and the 6-foot forward started 16 of 18 games last season, posting 6.1 ppg and 6.8 rpg, including 71 on the offensive end. Shot a career-best .456 from the floor last season.
Ashley Jones (RS-Jr./Mississippi State)
The Neumann-Goretti graduate's winding basketball path has landed her in Starkville after stops at West Virginia and Temple, where she was the 2020 AAC Newcomer of the Year. A complete scorer, Jones posted solid numbers in her one season with Temple with 16 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game and will aim to add that same punch to the Bulldogs this season.
Neumann-Goretti graduate Ashley Jones, right , was the 2020 AAC Newcomer of the Year at Temple, but has since transferred to Mississippi State. (Photo courtesy of Temple Athletics)
Dana Kiefer (Fr./Bryant)
Joins the Bulldogs after helping Archbishop Wood win the PCL and PIAA 4A titles last season. The 6-foot-2 forward is able to stretch defenses with a reliable 3-point shot.
Izzy Larsen (Soph./Northeastern)
Played in 20 games as a reserve forward in her freshman year. Played one year at Archbishop Wood after three seasons at the Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. A 6-foot-1 forward, Larsen eagerly does the "dirty work" on the court.
Paige Lauder (Soph./Columbia)
It's been a long wait to get back on the court for Lauder, who missed her senior year at Villa Maria with an injury and last season when the Ivy League canceled sports. A 2019 Class 5A District 1 champion and 1,000-point scorer as a high school junior, the 6-foot-1 forward will battle for a role in the frontcourt.
Molly Masciantonio (Sr./La Salle)
Masciantonio's first year playing for La Salle was solid, with a 7.7 ppg average and an appearance in all 26 games. Started her career at Holy Family, then sat out the 2019-20 season after transferring up to Division I level. An Archbishop Carroll graduate, the 5-foot-10 guard figures to again feature heavily in the Explorers rotation.
Katie May (Sr./Northeastern)
Missed the entire 2020-21 season save for a ceremonial appearance in her final game. The 2018 Class 5A Player of the Year with Archbishop Wood, May was a constant presencer her first two seasons on campus, starting 55 of 58 games. The 5-foot-10 guard/forward tends to fill the stat sheet with a mix of scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks and will look to rebound strong from a missed season.
Katie Mayock (Sr./Saint Joseph’s)
A frontcourt defensive stalwart, the 6-foot-2 Mayock has led the Hawks in blocks each of the past two seasons. The Conestoga grad and a former Central League MVP was the Big 5’s Scholar Athlete of the Year last year, starting six of 17 games and averaging 6.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Has appeared in all 77 of the team's games since arriving on campus.