February 12th, 2008
Middletown, PA — Webster's Dictionary defines the word adversity as "a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune." No matter how you slice it, this definition doesn't hold enough weight when describing what the Lady Lions of Penn State Harrisburg have had to endure during this 2007-2008 women's basketball season.
Not only are many of the ladies playing together for the first time this year and playing a very demanding and difficult regular season schedule, but during most of the season the ladies have had to do so with six and sometimes as few as five able bodies. The main reason for the blue and white's diminished numbers were injuries and issues out of their control.
Lady Lions head coach, Marissa Hoover described the season as "one of great patience and perseverance." She went on to say, "Entering this season we had high hopes and elaborate plans for conditioning, defense, and offensive structure, but on the 4th day of practice we were struck with our first season ending injury. Things snow balled from there. Losing a second to injury, then a third and finally on our first game, losing our point guard. All our plans changed." Most teams carry as many as fifteen ladies on a roster, but because of the injuries the lady lions had a stretch in one of their games earlier in the year where they only had four ladies that could play. On the flipside of things, February 2nd marked the first game this season in which the team had more than two substitutes available when they added Stephanie Powell (Lower Burrell, PA/Burrell) and Katie Hollinger (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley) to the current roster, which already included three late season additions in Erika Sorenson (York Haven, PA/Red Land), Brooke Conjar (Steelton, PA/Steel High) and Erin Davis (Cranston, RI/Cranston West). The lack of help off the bench for the Lady Lions has resulted in having five of the top seven conference leaders in minutes played per game. Sandra Adames (Poniac,MI/Pontiac Northern) is first, Krystal Miranda (South Bound Brook, NJ/Bound Brook) is second, Jamie Bissot (Swiftwater, PA/Pocono Mt. East) is fourth, Ashley Jensen (Levittown, PA/Neshaminy) is sixth and Erin Davis is seventh in the conference averaging 38, 37, 36, 33 and 33 minutes per game respectively.
Rahsaan Carlton, Athletic Director at Penn State Harrisburg had this to say about his women's basketball program, "What these ladies have done this year is tremendous. They exemplify what intercollegiate athletics are all about. Hard work, dedication and being there for your team. I consider these ladies to be saviors. They have made the ultimate sacrifice to sustain the viability of our women's basketball program." He continued stating, "It also cannot go without being said that Coach Marissa and Todd Hoover have done a remarkable job leading this team. Although we may have won more games in the previous 2 seasons, I believe what they are doing this year is even more impressive."
Imagine how difficult it must be for a team to know that they must be conditioned well enough to endure forty substitute free minutes of basketball against an opponent that can give any of their players a breather at any second nearly every single game of the year. Not the easiest thing to endure, that's for sure. But these ladies do it without hesitation, and are improving from one game to the next. When asked about the heart of the team, Coach Hoover added, "I won't let them give anything less than their personal best every day, but I don't think the girls that have stuck it out would expect less of themselves either." Early in the year you could notice that the opposing teams would constantly wear down our ladies, but lately you notice them taking the play right to their opponents during the second halves of game, the time when the ladies should be wearing down.
While this article was already being prepared, the Lady Lions went to Lancaster Bible on February 8th and defeated them by a score of 68-54. This is another prime example of the determination and the continuing improvement of this team.
The Blue and White next home game is February 20th against the Phoenix of Wilson College.