Season recap: Lehigh Valley Men's and Women's Basketball
It was a season of firsts for Penn State Lehigh Valley athletics with a brand new women's basketball team entering the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) and the use of Stabler Arena as home court for both the women's and men's program.
The women’s basketball team ended its inaugural season with a record of 9-12 overall and 6-9 in the PSUAC. The Lady Lions were picked in the preseason poll to finish fourteenth out of fourteen teams in the PSUAC, but finished their debut season seventh overall in the PSUAC.
Even though the team had hoped to qualify for the PSUAC playoffs, it fell just two games short of that goal. There were, however, some impressive accomplishments by the young players. Freshman Jailyn Stern was named to the PSUAC Honorable Mention Team and also named as a USCAA Honorable Mention All-American. She led the Lady Lions in scoring, averaging 18.0 points per game and finished the season ranked seventh in the league in scoring. Taylor Russell led the PSUAC in blocks averaging 3.6 per game. Both Russell and Ashley Gordon finished the season averaging close to a double double. Russell averaged 13.6 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game, while Ashley Gordon averaged 14.3 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game. Simone Rey finished fourth in the PSUAC in steals, averaging 2.8 a game.
"Overall, for a first-year program, the team achieved great success. The future looks really bright for the team next year as all players will be returning as experienced sophomores," said Coach Robin Martin. "I am extremely proud of the team’s success not only on the court but also in the classroom."
Now in its third year, the campus' men's basketball season saw success in terms of individual and team growth. With 13 players at the start of the season and 11 of them freshmen, the players worked hard to grow up fast in a short period of time. Freshman Jordan Young and sophomore Brandon Holland were the team captains this season.
"They did a wonderful job in their leadership roles this season. There wasn't a time during the season they didn't live up to the expectations I had for them as captains this year," said Coach Anthony Ross.
At the halfway point in the season, the team spoke about improving before playoffs. With one game left in the season, they were in playoff contention heading into the final game at Penn State York. The team fought extremely hard that night and came up short by just nine points.
"That night in the locker room we finally saw how far we've come as a family and program," said Ross. "We look back on our season and realize the small wins we spoke about in our preseason meeting came true, and say it was a positive and productive one. With intense recruiting we plan to take another step closer to becoming one of the prominent programs in the PSUAC."