Coach Mapp set to start new chapter for SU women's basketball

SALISBURY, Md. - For the first time 17 seasons there will be a new coach guiding the Salisbury University women's basketball program. Coach Charisse Mapp took over the program this past summer and hit the ground running ready to mold her young team that features only two seniors.

Coach Mapp comes to Salisbury from Princeton University where she served as an assistant coach. This is Mapp's first head coaching position and first experience of Division III athletics. Mapp served as an assistant coach of several Division I women's basketball programs including five years at North Carolina State. Mapp replaces former coach Bridget Benshetler who led the Sea Gulls to three Capital Athletic Conference championships and five NCAA tournament appearances.

"I hope the same will be said of me when my time is done here at SU," said Mapp when asked about Benshetler's legacy. "She had quite a bit of success. The All-Americans, conference championships and NCAA appearances were not accidents. We are writing a new chapter. I don't write the chapter the players do."

The 2007-08 Sea Gull roster has six familiar names returning from last season led by senior guard Meghan Phillips.

Phillips was an All-Capital Athletic Conference second team selection last season and is the leading returning scorer from last season where she averaged 13.6 points per game. Coach Mapp will look to her to be a leader and coach on the court for the maroon and gold.

"Meghan is an example of the passion, enthusiasm, energy and work ethic that I love to see in a student-athlete," said Mapp.

Joining Phillips in the backcourt will be Chante McKinney, Lindsay Martin and Monica Merkel and Christina Eury who return to the team after taking a season off.

Martin is the top returning rebounder as she had a 5.1 rebound per game average last season.  She had a team-high 73 offensive rebounds and saw action in all 26 games where she started 18.

In the front court the Sea Gulls are led by junior Marissa Manzo and sophomore Janay Johnson. The duo saw a lot of playing time last season and were leaders in various statistical categories. Manzo led the team in blocked shots with 12 while Johnson led the team in field goal percentage (.460).

Christina Klamp is expected to help out the front court as the senior returns to the maroon and gold for the first time since the 04-05 season. Sophomore Kylie Hall brings a year's worth of experience to the position.

Last season, the Gulls went 15-11 overall and 8-6 in the CAC where they were the fourth-seed in the conference tournament. Salisbury advanced to the CAC semifinals where it lost to eventual tournament champion and nationally ranked University of Mary Washington. The Eagles later advanced to the final four and enter this season as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Gulls will get an early opportunity to challenge the Eagles when the two teams meet on November 28 in Fredericksburg, Va., which will be SU's first conference game this season.

In part of the tradition of SU athletics and women's basketball Coach Mapp wants to make sure her team is visible and connected in the community. A part of getting her team on the same page is to make sure the Sea Gulls give back to the surrounding community.

"I realize that there is so much to put in place to meet our vision but there are only 24 hours in a day," said Mapp. "The other SU coaches have been an asset in my transition."

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