By Kendis Butler '22
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg's women's basketball team officially tips off the 2019-20 season by hosting Notre Dame (Md.) in a non-conference matchup at the Capital Union Building at 6 p.m. The Lions will take part in the program's return to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) this winter after six years competing in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). Before the Blue & White begin play tonight, be sure to check out all the info you need to know for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.
Look Who's Back
Despite losing four seniors, Penn State Harrisburg does not lack for experience. Among the returners this season are guards Laurel Amey and Kendis Butler, as well as forwards Anna Mahan and Madison Hemler. Abrianna Hamby will also be back to help provide a strong presence in the post. Last season, Amey produced better than eight points a game and is serving as a co-captain of the squad this season along with the senior Hemler. Mahan turned in a promising freshman season that saw her score nearly eight points a game and should see her role expand as a multiskilled guard/forward combo. Butler is the team's returning leading scorer and top 3-point threat (62 made a year ago), as she averaged better than 10 points a game last winter.
Among the freshmen, Paige Kubalak joins the Lions after making a deep postseason run at Penns Valley, Sahiba Satara was a first-team all-conference player at Weehawken (N.J.), Amanda Smida is set to provide valuable depth after a successful career at Avon Grove and Sydney Hemler is coming off a senior campaign that saw her named the PennLive.com Mid-Penn Colonial Preseason Player of the Year.
In addition to the group of rookies for the 2019-20 season, Sidney Gordon returns after a three-year hiatus as a senior point guard who should help fill the void left by the graduation of 2018-19 all-conference first-teamer Shanique Mattis.
Welcome to the Staff
Joining Penn State Harrisburg's 12-year head coach Ross Patrick and assistants Jared Trulear and Donna Wise are newcomers Megan McCabe and Steph Rheinheimer.
McCabe returns to the Blue & White after playing for Patrick during her sophomore season in 2012-13. She currently works as a career coach at Lebanon Valley College. She's used her leadership skills to construct a "LEAD" program with the Lions in order to help grow and develop them both individually and as a team.
Rheinheimer comes to Penn State Harrisburg after two years as an assistant at Lancaster Bible. She spent her collegiate basketball career playing for Eastern Mennonite. While there, she helped lead the Royals to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Circle the Date
Nov. 23-24 – Pride. Spirit. Honor. Tournament
The Lions are set to compete the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday when they host three other participating schools in tournament play. The Blue & White open against Lehman on Saturday, Nov. 23, while Delaware Valley and Wesley face off in the day's other matchup. The losers of Saturday's games will meet in the consolation game on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, before the championship contest wraps up the weekend.
Dec. 13 - vs. Lebanon Valley
Penn State Harrisburg continues non-conference play at home against the Flying Dutchmen just before winter break in December. The Lions will be out for revenge after suffering a defeat at LVC last season.
Jan. 11 - vs. SUNY Poly
The Blue & White open NEAC play at home against SUNY Poly in early January. The Wildcats are fresh off a North Eastern Athletic Conference championship and should prove a tough test just after the new year.
The Lions open the 2019-20 campaign by hosting Notre Dame (Md.) at the CUB on Monday night, Nov. 11.