MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – It's hoops season. Penn State Harrisburg's women's basketball program officially kicks off the 2018-19 winter athletic season by hosting Lancaster Bible in non-conference action at the Capital Union Building at 6 p.m. The Lions will take part in their final year as a member of the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) this winter before making the move back to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) next fall. Before the Blue & White tip things off tonight, be sure to take in all the info you need to know for the upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
Look Who's Back
Penn State Harrisburg will look to an experienced group of five seniors in Shanique Mattis, Rachel Miller, Aireo Payne, Briana Davis and Abrianna Hamby for leadership this season. After averaging nearly 14 points per outing a year ago, Mattis is the team's top returning scorer, while Davis was ranked among the most productive Lions in assists and rebounds per contest last year. Miller and Payne could have an expanded role in the team's backcourt this winter, while Hamby should prove valuable depth in the paint.
Among the underclassmen back this season are guards Laurel Amey and Nicole Hill, as well as versatile guard/forward combos Madison Hemler and Katelyn Kosovac. Jordann Wilson will also be back to help down low on the block. Amey turned in a promising freshman campaign that saw her score nearly six points a game a year ago and should see her role increase this winter, while Hill's depth will prove valuable in the backcourt. Hemler and Kosovac saw time in a number of games last year and that experience could go a long way in 2018-19 and Wilson provides another true big for the Blue & White to work with.
The Lions also welcome three freshmen and a handful of transfer players this winter. Among the freshmen, Anna Mahan joins the squad two years after winning a PIAA 5A District Championship at Susquehannock, Kendis Butler was a 1,000-point scorer at the Christian School of York and MacKenzee Jester was consistently a double-digit scorer at Ligonier Valley.
In addition to the group of frosh set to don the Blue & White this season, transfer Myasia Taylor provides the team another guard to rely on, while fellow transfer Symone Grant will add valuable depth to the frontcourt.
At the Polls
The Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) released its 2018-19 Women's Basketball Preseason Poll on Thursday morning, Nov. 8. Penn State Harrisburg received 12 points, earning them a share of seventh place along with St. Mary's (Md.). Christopher Newport led the way with 46 points and five first-place votes, York (Pa.) was the runner-up with 43 points and a pair of first-place votes and Mary Washington rounded out the top three with 40 points and the final first-place vote.
Circle the Date
Nov. 24-25 – Penn State Harrisburg Tournament
The Blue & White return from the Thanksgiving holiday by playing host to three other competing schools in tournament action over two days in late November. The Lions open against Notre Dame (Md.) on Saturday, Nov. 24., while Mary Baldwin and York (N.Y.) compete in the day's other matchup. The losers of Saturday's contests will meet in the consolation game on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 25, before championship action wraps up the weekend.
Jan. 2 – vs. Southern Virginia
Penn State Harrisburg opens CAC play at home against the Knights just after the New Year in early January. The Lions will be out for revenge after suffering a pair of narrow defeats at the hands of Southern Virginia by a combined 11 points a year ago.
Feb. 16 – vs. Christopher Newport
Harrisburg closes out the regular season against one of the nation's top programs and one of the early favorites to win the CAC and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Lions will look to play spoiler on what may prove to be the final home game for the team's group of seniors.
The Lions open the 2018-19 campaign by hosting soon-to-be NEAC foe Lancaster Bible on Thursday night. Penn State Harrisburg kicks off the season with a home game at the Capital Union Building and gets to familiarize itself with a program it will see on an annual basis beginning next year.