2019-20 NEAC Women's Basketball Season Preview

2019-20 NEAC Women's Basketball Season Preview

LATHAM, N.Y. – The 2019-20 season of North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women’s basketball kicks off on Friday night with two teams tipping off and seven more starting over the weekend.

SUNY Poly won the NEAC Tournament title last season with a 68-60 win over Gallaudet University. The title was the third in four seasons for the Wildcats. Only Keuka (7) has more NEAC Tournament titles than SUNY Poly's three. 

Full schedule

Cazenovia
Head Coach: Chris Comino, 10th season
2018-19 Record: 9-15, 6-10 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: None
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Key Returners: Danielle Caivana, Alexis Tubbs, Amy Holland … Players to Watch: Arrianna Henry, Briann Scott, Lauren Schwarzbeck, Bailey Bennett, MacKenzie Bennett 
Key Losses: Morgan DeLand
Coach’s Season Outlook: Cazenovia will look to lean on its seven seniors to get them back to the playoffs. The Wildcats return three players who scored in double figures last season.  Cazenovia will also expect their talented freshman class to produce right away.

Gallaudet
Head Coach: Stephanie Stevens,
2018-19 Record: 17-10, 13-3 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: Lost to SUNY Poly in NEAC Championship Game
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Senior guard Kendall Hudson: third-leading scorer last season at 16.3 ppg … Junior guard Emelia Beldon: fourth-leading scorer last season at 10.4 … Junior guard Jakkisha Smith: played in seven games before getting injured and missed rest of the season
Key Losses:
NEAC Player of the Year Hannah Neild and All-NEAC guard Sabina Shysh
Coach’s Season Outlook:
Gallaudet experienced its best season under head coach Stephanie Stevens last year as the Bison posted a 17-10 overall record and went 13-3 in NEAC play. GU advanced all the way to the NEAC championship for the first time since 2010-11 where they lost to SUNY Poly, 68-60. The Bison have several big voids left with the graduation of Jostens Trophy finalist and NEAC Player of the Year Hannah Neild and all-conference guard Sabina Shysh, the top leading scorers for the Bison. Gallaudet's backcourt will be the heart of the Bison led by senior Kendall Hudson and junior Emelia Beldon. GU will also welcome back Jakkisha Smith after being sidelined for the majority of last season. GU will also welcome Cassidy Perry, Lexi Hill, Sunita Schmidjorg and Rajena Guettler as four key additions to the squad this season.

Keuka
Head Coach: Gary Broadhurst, Third season
2018-19 Record: 19-6, 14-2 NEAC – No. 1 seed North Division - Regular Season Champions,
2018-19 Postseason: NEAC Final Four host, lost in the semifinals to Gallaudet.
Key Returners/ Players to Watch: Samantha Laranjo, Riley Record
Key Losses:
Lauren Anten (First Team All-Conference), Jariah Johnson (Second Team All-Conference)
Coach’s Season Outlook:
The Wolves return an experienced core led by ‘18-19 Second Team All-Conference senior point guard, Sam Laranjo, and several new faces that will look to make an immediate impact on the hardwood. The impacts of last year's seniors, especially First Team All-Conference guard, Lauren Anten, and Second Team All-Conference guard/forward, Jariah Johnson, will be missed but their departures open the doors for others to step up. The Wolves will look to continue their recent successes during their final season as a member of the NEAC.

Lancaster Bible
Head Coach: Katelyn Vanderholff, Fifth season
2018-19 Record: 9-16, 7-9 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: None
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Caitlin Hickey (NEAC First Team -- 18.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.0 apg) ... Lizzy Tilton (8.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
Key Losses:
Courtney Goyak (NEAC 3rd Team -- 11.2 ppg, 15.8 rpg)
Coach’s Season Outlook:
This year's team has a lot of newcomers, including six freshmen ... The Chargers play a tough non-conference schedule but hope that the tough early-season games will help prepare them for conference play ... Hickey returns for her senior season and has a good chance of becoming the second player in program history to score 2,000 points in a career.

Penn College
Head Coach: Britini Mahney, First Season
2018-19 Record: 1-24, 0-16 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: None
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Madison Klock, Cassi Kuhns, Maci Ilgen
Key Losses:
Gwendolyn Lavelle, Kaylah Brown
Coach’s Season Outlook:
The returning members' garnered ample experience as young players, and we are excited to see how that will transfer on to the court as seasoned players.  With the mix of an eager freshman class; the energy and work ethic are exceeding expectations. We are looking to compete at a higher rate this year. 

Penn State Abington
Head Coach: Shayla Johnson, Fourth season
2018-19 Record: 12-14, 8-8 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: Lost in the NEAC Semifinals to SUNY Poly
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Sydney Barrow, Laquana Nagbe both averaged double figures last year.
Key Losses:
Shayna Rodriguez
Coach’s Season Outlook:
With a strong returning core back and some key additions with our incoming class, Penn State Abington is looking to make another postseason run this season.

Penn State Berks
Head Coach: Kristin Hawley, Sixth season
2018-19 Record: 8-14, 6-10 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: None
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Key Returners: Kaitlyn Armstrong (G), Julia Bookwalter  (F), Sam Brensinger (G) … Key Newcomer: Destiny Infante (G)
Key Losses:
Deanna Daddona (G)
Coach’s Season Outlook:
We are looking to be competitive in the conference. The goal is to make it back to the postseason after missing out last year and see what we can do in the tournament.

Penn State Harrisburg
Head Coach: Ross Patrick, 12th season
2018-19 Record: 10-16, 4-10 Capital Athletic Conference
2018-19 Postseason: CAC First Round
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Kendis Butler (So.), Laurel Amey (Jr.), Anna Mahan (So.)
Key Losses:
Shanique Mattis (Sr.)
Coach’s Season Outlook:
We play to our system and trust each other on both the offensive and defensive ends. The more connected we are, the more success we will have. There is a relational continuity to this group that gives me great excitement to what we can accomplish this season. We will be young this year with many sophomores and freshmen playing extended minutes. But our upperclassmen understand the system and the culture and have been great teachers to the new additions to our team. With great IQ, coachability and the ability to shoot the three, the newcomers will step into opportunities this year and be asked to contribute right away. I think once they adjust to the college game and understand the system, they can all be important contributors. It has been great to be welcomed back by some of the coaches I had maintained relationships with during our transition to the CAC, and the new faces have been very friendly and inviting. I look forward to competing and meeting new coaches.

SUNY Cobleskill
Head Coach: Megan Bowman, First Season
2018-19 Record: 12-13, 6-10 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: None
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Senior point guard Erica Cabrera, senior center/forward Gabby Muraczewski, senior forward Stacy Sprague, senior guard/forward Liyah Graham. Newcomers to watch; junior guard Nylasia Sutton, freshman forward Jordan Finch.
Key Losses:
Junior guard Addy Lawson, two-time All-NEAC selection, 13.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game, freshman forward Kristena Westerfeld, 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds
Coach’s Season Outlook:
With eight returning letter women and four seniors the Fighting Tigers will be counting on a wealth of playing experience and good overall team size to help them return to the NEAC playoffs after falling one win short of qualifying the past three seasons.

Morrisville State
Head Coach: Erin Skaradek, Fifth season
2018-19 Record: 8-18, 7-9 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: Lost to SUNY Poly in NEAC Quarterfinals
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Junior point guard Alexis Campbell, senior guard Tori Rockefeller, junior guard/forwards Miranda Wright and Alaya Wright
Key Losses:
Charlotte Walker
Coach’s Season Outlook:
Returning top two leading scorers from last season in Campbell (17.4 ppg) and Rockefeller (16.3 ppg). We have a tough non-conference schedule, including contests versus Clarkson, SUNY Geneseo, Houghton, and Buffalo State to prepare us for conference play. A strong incoming recruiting class (5 freshmen and 1 transfer) provides us with depth in scoring and ball handling.

SUNY Poly
Head Coach: Jessica Skelton, 16th season
2018-19 Record: 23-6, 15-1 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: NEAC Champions, First Round of NCAA Tournament
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Molly Burdick (NEAC Rookie of the Year, NEAC First Team), Kiersten Leos (NEAC Championship MVP, NEAC First Team), Jaida Washington, Taylor Aybar, Sophie Wittenbeck (Transfer from DI University of Vermont), Taylor Day (Transfer from TCCC).
Key Losses:
Rylie Smith
Coach’s Season Outlook:
With just one loss last season in NEAC play and just one graduating senior, the Wildcats look to improve upon their fantastic season in 2018-19. The dynamic scoring duo of Kiersten Leos and Molly Burdick will stretch the floor for the Wildcats. The senior leadership of Taylor Aybar at the point will help the Wildcats distribute the ball efficiently. Senior big Jaida Washington will look to dominate on the glass. The addition of some great new weapons for the Wildcats should prove to be effective this season.

Wells
Head Coach: Tara Ruckh, Fourth season
2018-19 Record: 3-22, 2-14 NEAC
2018-19 Postseason: None
Key Returners/Players to Watch: Key players – Returners; Jordan Jacobs and Maritza Scharoun. Also, Key freshman Sonia Rivera and Brittany Kropp. Parks in her second year.  She didn’t get a ton of time last year but looking to see more time this year and contribute more per game.
Key Losses:
Carli Ryan, Shelby Medovich, and Miranda Mingen, all to graduation.  They were all starters and max minute players and contributed on both ends of the floor.
Coach’s Season Outlook:
Returning three players from last season, a lot of new faces. The majority of the team plays fall sports so not having them at the beginning of practice is going to create a challenge for us in the first semester while we figure out how to play together. We also lost the bulk of the scoring to graduation so finding that scoring spark will probably come from a different person each night. We will have to see who steps up on a consistent basis.

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Morrisville State, Penn College, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks, Penn State Harrisburg, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Poly, and Wells College. Associate members are: Alfred State (M Lacrosse), Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), College of Saint Elizabeth (M Tennis & M Volleyball), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), SUNY Potsdam (M Volleyball) and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has also partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and women’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.