Team to beat
Quigley: The Spartans, a WPIAL semifinalist last season, did not lose a section game the past two seasons and own a 26-game section winning streak. They should be strong again with the return of senior guard-forward Kristen Jackson (14 points per game).
Cornell: The Raiders will attempt to take a step forward after finishing in a tie for second place two years in a row. Senior center Nicole Byron and senior forward Taylor Davis give the Raiders a solid frontcourt duo.
Rochester: In junior forward Demi McFrazier (10 ppg), the Rams have one of the top post players in the section. McFrazier averaged close to a double-double in points and rebounds each of her first two seasons.
Union: Senior forward Hannah Booth is the top player back for a team looking to return to the playoffs for the third year in a row. The Scotties won seven games in a row at one point last season.
Aliquippa: The Quips bring back junior forward Ciara Clark, who averaged 14.4 points and 13.3 rebounds per game a season ago.
Sewickley Academy: The Panthers had all underclassmen on last season's team, which had the No. 2 scoring defense in Class A (38.5 ppg).
Western Beaver: Winning a game is one of the top priorities for the Golden Beavers, who own the longest losing streak in the WPIAL at 54 games.
Team to beat
Vincentian: Another outstanding season should be in the forecast for the Royals, the two-time defending WPIAL champions and PIAA runner-up last season. The Royals, who went 88-6 the past three seasons, will be led by arguably the best player in Class A -- junior guard-forward Brenna Wise (21.8 ppg). Sophomore guard Torrieonna Cash and senior guard-forward Ally Bartoszewicz are also returning starters.
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic: The Trojanettes have finished no worse than second in section play since the 2005-06 season. They will contend for the title again this season. High-scoring guard Lauren Wolosik graduated, so the Trojanettes will rely on senior guard Paige Kizior and junior guard Evelyn Brazil.
St. Joseph: The Spartans would be the favorite in a few other sections, but face an uphill battle in this one. Luckily for the Spartans, they return all of their starters, led by senior guard-forward Mallory Heinle (19.5 ppg) and senior forward Nikki Mielecki.
Eden Christian: In just their second year in the WPIAL, the Warriors earned their first playoff berth last season. Junior guard Abbie Bazzoli is a key returnee.
Ellis School: Senior forward Camille Allen averaged a double-double in points and rebounds a season ago.
Trinity Christian: Led by senior guard Bekah Matta, the Falcons will look for improvement after winning only three section games over the past five seasons.
Imani Christian: The Saints are in their second season of playing a WPIAL schedule. They went 1-19 a season ago.
Team to beat
Carmichaels: The section runner-up last season, look for the Mighty Mikes to claim the top spot this season. Senior forward Amanda Brown (13.9 ppg) was all-section as a junior. The Mighty Mikes also bring back junior guard Caroline Cree (11.4 ppg).
Avella: Fresh off their first section title since 2004, the Eagles hope to duplicate that feat. They've got a good shot, as they lost just two seniors and return senior guard-forward Mackenna Drazich.
West Greene: The Pioneers will lean on senior twins to try to carry them to the playoffs for the third season in a row. Madison Raber (18.5 ppg), a center, was named all-section last season. Alyssa Raber, a forward, led the Pioneers in rebounds.
California: Senior guard Tristen Conaway averaged more than 10 points per game each of the past two seasons.
Jefferson-Morgan: The Rockets' top two scorers last season, forward Ally Bogden and guard Kayla Yorko, were freshmen.
Mapletown: The Maples went winless last season and have dropped 39 section games in a row.
Team to beat
Serra Catholic: Sparked by the No. 1 scoring offense and defense in Class A, the Eagles made a run to the WPIAL title game last season. A return trip is possible with all-section performer Megan Sieg (12.5 ppg), a senior guard, back in the fold. Her sister, junior guard Katie Sieg, and senior center Nicole Pero also return.
Winchester Thurston: Shooting for their third consecutive postseason berth, the Bears are expecting big things from senior forward Shala Barney.
Monessen: The Greyhounds have finished no worse than second in the section since 2006, but continuing that success could be difficult after losing two all-section players. Junior guard Mariha Johnson is the team's top returnee.
Frazier: The Commodores made the playoffs last season with a team consisting of all underclassmen. Senior guard-forward Lauren Timko will lead the way this season.
Clairton: A third consecutive trip to the playoffs will be a challenge considering the Bears graduated their top three scorers.
Geibel: The Gators hope to be more competitive after not winning a section game the past two seasons.
(Team Last season)
1. Vincentian 29-2
2. Serra Catholic 24-4
3. St. Joseph 11-13
4. North Catholic 15-11
5. Winchester Thurston 13-10
Players to Watch
Camille Allen, Ellis School, 6-0, Sr., Forward
Ally Bogden, Jeff-Morgan, 5-10, Soph., Forward
Evelyn Brazil, North Catholic, 5-2, Jr., Guard
Amanda Brown, Carmichaels, 5-9, Sr., Forward
Torrieonna Cash, Vincentian, 5-7, Soph., Guard
Ciara Clark, Aliquippa, 5-8, Jr., Forward
Tristen Conaway, California, 5-7, Sr., Guard
Mallory Heinle, St. Joseph, 6-1, Sr., Guard/Forward
Kristen Jackson, Quigley Catholic, 5-9, Sr., Guard/Forward
Mariha Johnson, Monessen, 5-4, Jr., Guard
Paige Kizior, North Catholic, 5-5, Sr., Guard
Lexi LoNero, Winchester Thurston, 5-4, Jr., Guard
Bekah Matta, Trinity Christian, 5-8, Sr., Guard
Demi McFrazier, Rochester, 5-8, Jr., Forward
Nikki Mielecki, St. Joseph, 5-10, Sr., Forward
Nicole Pero, Serra Catholic, 6-0, Sr., Center
Madison Raber, West Greene, 5-10, Sr., Center
Megan Sieg, Serra Catholic, 5-6, Sr., Guard
Brenna Wise, Vincentian, 6-1, Jr., Forward/Guard