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2012-2013 Women's Basketball Season Preview
11/15/2012 — The 2012-2013 version of Penn State Altoona women’s basketball will feature plenty of new faces, and the team is hoping that a crop of fresh talent will provide a boost as they head into the regular season.
The Lady Lions return only four players from last season’s team that posted an 8-17 overall record. In contrast, there are eight newcomers to the roster. The squad hopes to build upon the strengths that their returners bring, while adding new players who should add a lot to the team.
“The four returners are the core of the team heading into the season, and we’re excited about their growth as players,” said assistant coach Casey Shoup, who will be the team’s acting head coach while Donna Kling is on medical leave. “We are looking forward to watching them continue to grow, as well as mentor and lead the way for the newcomers. Our returners have a strong bond with one another, and we expect their sense of unity to be contagious for the other players.”
Penn State Altoona will be led inside by sophomore center/forward Moira Corrigan (Havertown, PA/Haverford). In 22 games for the Lady Lions last year, including 11 starts, Corrigan was best rebounder on the team, averaging 7.3 boards per game. She also scored 4.7 points per game and blocked 16 shots. Sophomore Marina Cotarelo (North Salem, NY/John F. Kennedy Catholic) and junior Erin D’Arcy (Doylestown, PA/Central Bucks West) also return and will add depth at the forward position.
At guard, the squad will be anchored by sophomore Alidia Strouse (State College, PA/State College), who appeared in all 25 games for the team last season. Strouse was third-best in field goal percentage last year, shooting 36.2% from the field. She also added 3.8 rebounds per game.
Beyond the returners, the Lady Lions will be relying on their newcomers contributing immediately. Shoup believes that the crop of first-year players has what it takes to step in and succeed immediately.
“Our newcomers are fierce. They have already enhanced our team with their enthusiasm and style of play,” she said. “We have some great shooters who are willing and able to pull the trigger when given the opportunity. They also come from winning high school programs, and their discipline and drive will benefit them as they play at the Division III level.”
Shoup points to a pair of local freshmen guards, Allison Edwards (Williamsburg, PA/Williamsburg) and Kelsey Heller (Claysburg, PA/Chestnut Ridge), as being two players who can provide an impact right away.
“Allison, from Williamsburg, is a tough ball player. She’s a very nice shooter, she moves well without the ball to get herself shot opportunities, and she creates for herself,” Shoup explained. “Kelsey is a Chestnut Ridge graduate, and she takes direction very well. She internalizes what is being offered to her and does her best to capitalize on it. She’s another player who can step up and knock the shot down.”
Offensively, Shoup says that the key will be playing together as a unit and making good decisions.
“These ladies have worked well together throughout the preseason, and we are hoping that they continue on this path to ensure a strong overall game,” she said. “As a unit, we need to continue to recognize when to pull the trigger and knock down our shots so that we are progressing offensively. Because we’re a relatively young group, a key area for us is to take good shot selections.”
The team finished with a 6-12 record in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference during the 2011-2012 season, but that mark was not indicative of how competitive the team was in their 18 conference games. The Lady Lions lost four AMCC contests by margins of five points or less. If the team had found ways to win those close games, they would have been 10-8 and qualified for a playoff berth.
“In order for us to add those close games, we need to be able to play hard – playing physical, bump for bump – for 40 minutes and have the ability to rise above to finish those games with a win,” Shoup stated. “We have to believe in one another and continue to operate as a unit.”
Penn State Altoona women’s basketball opens its regular season schedule on Friday, November 16 in the Greg Richards Memorial Tournament, hosted by Allegheny College. The Lady Lions will play Allegheny at 6:00 PM. The team’s first home game occurs on Tuesday, November 20 when it plays Frostburg State University at 4:00 PM in the Adler Gym.
Photo: Penn State Altoona sophomore Moira Corrigan is one of four returners for the team heading into this season.