MIDDLETOWN, Pa- Penn State Harrisburg's women's basketball team honored their graduating players Dorothea Dixon (Middletown, PA/Middletown) and Monet Cunningham (Highspire, PA/Bishop McDevitt) prior to its game against Gallaudet on Wednesday night, Feb. 8. The Lions immortalized this year's senior night by besting the Bison 60-48 and recording the program's school-record tenth straight victory.
The home team jumped out to an early 7-0 lead thanks to a three-ball from Steph Yetter (Thompsontown, PA/East Juniata) and two layups from Amanda Moyer (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley). The Lions wouldn't relinquish their lead all night.
A Cunningham layup and Jocelyn Mitchell (Heath, OH/Heath) free throw just before the half gave Penn State Harrisburg a 37-21 advantage heading into the break with 20 of the blue and white's first period points coming off Gallaudet turnovers.
It was more of the same in the final 20 minutes. Dixon nabbed four steals in the second half and the Lions grabbed their largest lead of the night when Cunningham hit a layup to put her squad up by 19 with 7:44 remaining in the game.
With the contest well in hand, the seniors got a well-deserved rest and received a nice hand from the crowd at the Capital Union Building as they came to the bench with just over a minute left to play. Cunningham scored 12 points, dished-out four assists and grabbed two rebounds and two steals. Dixon filled up the stat sheet nicely with a game-high eight assists and six steals to go along with her three points and five boards.
Moyer led all blue and white scorers with 17. She also added ten rebounds and four steals. Yetter netted 11 tallies and Brittani Guerre (Tobyhanna, PA/Pocono Mountain West) chipped in with eight.
On this night however, the contributions of Cunningham and Dixon took center stage. Penn State Harrisburg Head Coach Ross Patrick discussed the ladies' role in the continuing success the program is currently enjoying.
"Monet is a comedian who likes to make others laugh," he said. "Regardless if it is telling a joke, or causing a defender to get her legs tangled up on her crossover, Mo always has a smile on her face. Joining our program as a transfer, she brought an added toughness and competitive spirit to our program. Ask any teammate or coach if we will miss Mo next season and I'm sure everyone would reply… a 'lil bit."
Dixon, a four-year starter and the school's career-leader in assists and steals, also received praise from Patrick for all she's brought to the team the past four seasons.
"Dea is a point guard, a leader, a program changer. From day one, Dea stepped onto the court and it was quickly apparent that few would be able to keep up with her on either side of the ball. An extremely coachable player, she carries herself with dignity and has earned the utmost respect from her teammates and coaches. At only 5'4," she is small in stature, but future point guards will have a tall order trying to fill the shoes of one, Dea Mae Dixon."
Patrick finished by expressing his hope to see these two young women play into March, as a participant in this year's NCAA Division III tournament. The way his team has been performing lately, that outcome doesn't seem like much of a stretch.
"It has been a pleasure and honor for myself and our coaching staff to have had the opportunity to develop relationships and coach these two players over the seasons," he said. "We are thankful to have them in our program and seek to extend the year as long as possible to keep them around."