Player predictions

As the Quinnipiac men’s and women’s basketball seasons approach, the Chronicle staff takes a look at some key players and predicts their statlines for the upcoming season.

Rich Kelly

15 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.0 RPG, 47%/40%/89%

Junior guard Rich Kelly set a high ceiling for the Bobcats this year. Playing all of his games his freshman year and missing five his sophomore year, he was able to improve his point production, as it was up almost two points per game (PPG).

Sam Saleh
Junior guard Rich Kelly drives to the basket coming off a screen.

Based on his production last year with the Bobcats in 26 games, look for head coach Baker Dunleavy to give more minutes to Kelly this year. This is due to the losses of guards Aaron Robinson, Cameron Young, and Andrew Robinson.

Last year, Kelly averaged 13.2 PPG, 4.5 assists per game (APG) and 2.6 rebounds per game (RPG). Expect Kelly to be healthy and fill a huge gap for the Bobcats at the guard position this season, as he could average close to 15 PPG, 5.5 APG and 3.0 RPG.

With this, expect his field goal percentage to increase from 44.9% to 47% and his free-throw percentage from 85% to 89%. However, look for his 3-point percentage to dip from 45.7% to 40% because he will attempt more three pointers this season than he has in his previous two seasons. – MJ

Taylor Herd

9.50 PPG, 3.20 RPG, 2.1 APG, 42.5%/35.5%/76%

With many notable starters leaving the Bobcats over the offseason, head coach Tricia Fabri’s spotlight turns to senior guard Taylor Herd. Herd, the reigning MAAC Sixth Player of the Year, glued the bench unit together last season by contributing 7.8 points per game (PPG) and posting 10 games of at least 10 points. As she fills the leadership role of this 2020 squad, she will see plenty more offensive looks, which will only boost her 6.1 PPG career average.

Morgan Tencza
Senior guard Taylor Herd pushes the offense on a fastbreak.

Expect her field goal percentage — especially from behind the arc — to rise this season, which will bump her scoring average. If Herd focuses in on ball movement this season, her offensive production will flourish. She has made 35.4% of her shots during her career, which is an area foremphasis for improvement this season. More assists per game could help her find open looks more often, especially behind the arc, where she has shot for 41.7% over her career. As sophomore guard Mackenzie DeWees attempts to emulate former starter Edel Thorton’s give-and-go playstyle at the point, Herd will pick up slack as the true leader of the starting five. Herd has the basketball IQ to lead her teammates, and she will have more minutes to put that into practice this season. – MC

Jacob Rigoni

13.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.9%/44%/81.5%

This season will feature junior Jacob Rigoni as the Bobcats’ go-to forward on offense. His role on offense last season saw him roaming the perimeter and key as Cam Young slashed the basket but expect the 6-foot-6-inch Aussie to challenge opponents’ bigs more. That being said, his production with the corner three, shooting 41.7% behind the arc in his career, has gone unrivaled. It doesn’t hurt that his neighbor, redshirt junior center Kevin Marfo, will see more

Emily Thompson
Junior forward Jacob Rigoni prepares to hand the ball off to teammate Cam Young.

minutes this season under the rim. Marfo can pass the ball out to Rigoni for an open shot, or Rigoni could find Marfo on the block with a mismatched defender covering him for an easy layup.

Expect Rigoni to get more involved from the field and in the assist column this season. His field goal percentage will take a hit, but only due to the increase in shots he’ll take per game. Being a more frequent offensive option comes with its ups and downs, and one of the biggest disadvantages is that defenses gameplan against you. Rigoni has a solid chance to become a star for the Bobcats this season, but it will only be possible if he can expand his role and drive to the basket more. Taking higher percentage looks will only add to the Bobcats’ offensive arsenal. – MC

Paige Warfel

10.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 39.5%/30%/82.5%

Coming off of a career year, the rising senior forward Paige Warfel is determined to produce even more. Her 2018-19 campaign proved to be a breakout year as her stats improved in a total of 13 different categories over the course of 33 games (nine starts), most notably her blocks (nine) and steals (39) totals.

Emily Thompson
Senior forward Paige Warfel slashes through multiple defenders as she drives toward the rim.

Quinnipiac lost several of its top point scorers this offseason when Aryn McClure, Jen Fay, Brittany Martin, Paula Strautmane and Edel Thornton all graduated. The door for Warfel is wide open and she has the potential to outscore her current career-high of 18 points in any game this season. Warfel’s scoring average nearly doubled in 2018-19 from 2.9 to 5.5. Her shooting percentage sky-rocketed last year as she finished shooting 37.5% from the field, 0.77 percentage points higher than the year before. Warfel also tacked on 17 more offensive rebounds than the 2017-18 season. Her increased playing time last season helped marinate her skill set and in-game production and it looks like this year should be another career year. Starting in nine games last season, Warfel is a shoo-in for a starting role, making this season’s potential limitless. – PP