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The Wilkes University women’s basketball team will open up its season on Saturday, November 15, when they travel to Glenside to take on Arcadia University. After a 2-23 overall record a season ago, the Lady Colonels have a good mix of key returnees and newcomers they will rely on to be competitive in the Freedom Conference.
Head coach Rachel Hartung Emmerthal returns for her fourth season at the helm and will welcome back seven players, including sophomore point guard Allison Horn, who missed all but two games of her rookie campaign after sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
“We are expecting Ali to be ready for us to step in and play in our first game,” stated Emmerthal. “After having two serious knee injuries in two years, she has worked diligently with strength and conditioning coach Keith Klahold to not only strengthen her knee but to get back into game-shape as well.
Sophomore guard Erin Schneider has also done a great job in the off-season with coach Keith to recover from injury and get herself ready for this year as well.”
Returning to lead the team are senior forwards Chelsey Gosse and Khadija Bates, the lone upperclassmen on the squad. Gosse returns after playing in only nine games last year after departing the team midway through the season to complete an internship. Before her absence, she was averaging a team-leading 12.1 points and 8.9 rebounds. Bates brings back a strong and aggressive inside game where she averaged 4.3 points and 4.8 rebounds a game.
Sophomore center Mackensey O’Hara will also see time after averaging 6.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a game as a rookie. She is joined by fellow sophomore forward Mari Gabriel who will add depth to the Lady Colonel frontcourt.
Joining Horn and Schneider at the guard positions are sophomores Sam Lynam and Brittany Ely. Lynam lead the team with an 81.2 percentage from the free throw line last season as well as canning 30 three-pointers, while ranking second in scoring at 9.1 points a game. Ely, the team’s defensive specialist, also contributed 5.4 points a game last year on the offensive end.
Added to the mix this season will be four newcomers in freshmen Samantha Simcox, Whitney Connolly, and Audriana Lippnik, as well as sophomore Katie McFarland. “Our newcomers really bring a lot to the team. They’ve worked hard this preseason and love being out there. While they may lack experience, they have definitely raised the team’s overall productivity in practice,” commented Emmerthal.
The team will play five games in November, before opening up December with two conference games. They will travel to play cross-town rival King’s College on December 3, before returning home to host Eastern University on December 6.
“The conference will be very tough and competitive this year. However, the girls want to have as much success as they can, and go at every game the same way, no matter who they are playing,” Emmerthal said. “We are a young team and we have a lot to prove, but I believe with how the preseason has gone so far they are ready to take on that challenge. Finishing the season with a .500 record and qualifying for the Freedom Conference playoffs is not out of reach.”