“We are very excited about getting this season started. We had a very good preseason and we have worked extremely hard out on the track and in the weight room and out on the basketball court”
Those are the words of Shippensburg University women’s head basketball coach Kristy Trn.
Despite the loss of five key seniors Trn is still sure the Raiders can make some noise in a tough PSAC division.
SU finished the 2012–13 year after falling 62–42 against Millersville University in the first round of the PSAC playoffs.
Despite the loss, the Raiders finished 20–8 on the year, recording the third-most wins in the PSAC East.
The Raiders are a young team this year after graduating five key seniors last year.
Among those key seniors were Dana and Shawna Wert. The Wert twins were a dominant force on the court for SU last season. Shawna Wert finished the 2012–13 season averaging 11 points per game, fourth best on the Raider squad.
Dana Wert also had a stellar senior year for the Raiders, averaging 11.7 points per game, third on SU’s team.
“It is very hard to replace two players like Dana and Shawna. Dana’s ability at the point position to be able to lead everyone on and off the court is a huge loss to us,” Trn said.
The Raiders do have players who can fill the void.
Key newcomers for SU include Alexia Servello and Lauren Gold.
Servello, a freshman from Altoona, Pa. attended Altoona High School. Servello averaged six points and two steals along with five assists per game in her senior year.
Gold is also a freshman who played high school basketball at Abington Friends School. Gold averaged 17.4 points per game and 3.4 steals in her senior season.
Key returnees for the Raiders include senior Sarah Strybuc and sophomore Stephanie Knauer.
Strybuc averaged 13.7 points per game throughout last year, leading the Raider squad. Strybuc also shot a solid .826 from the free-throw line.
Knauer was the Raiders freshman sensation last season, averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 rebounds a game.
Knauer was named All PSAC East Freshman of the year to go along with her seven PSAC East Freshman of the week awards.
“I am learning from them and they are learning from me. At times it is really nerve-racking but it’s also really exciting,” Strybuc said.
In the preseason PSAC polls, the Raiders were ranked third in the PSAC East behind Millersville University and Bloomsburg University, respectively.
The Raiders also received two first-place votes.
SU will need underclassmen to contribute if it wants to make noise in the PSAC East division and return to the PSAC playoffs.
SU’s season opener is set to take place against Shepherd University on Nov. 11 inside Heiges Field House. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.