The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team has had two straight losing seasons led by a young core. But with more experience and some new faces in the fold, the Raiders are looking to return to their winning ways.
The Raiders will return 11 players from last year’s squad, including all five starters. Although the team will have no seniors for the second straight year, it has seven juniors and five sophomores with experience.
Among the returning players are junior guard Ariel Jones and sophomore forward Aunbrielle Green. Jones was a Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-America Third Team honoree and is fresh off setting SU’s single-season school record for points (609).
Green is the reigning Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division Freshman of the Year and was selected to the All-PSAC Eastern Division Second Team after averaging 12.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Shippensburg’s team will feature some new faces as well, including a pair of transfers. Junior guard Destiny Jefferson comes from West Chester and was on the All-PSAC First Team last season, averaging 16.2 points per game and shooting 37.6 percent from three. The other incoming transfer, junior Erin Gibbons, led Mansfield in scoring last season with 12 points per game and made 52 three-pointers.
Green is hopeful the new additions will have a positive effect this season.
“We have new additions to the team who will make a difference and we have a deeper bench so we will have fresh legs,” Green said. “We also have more experience this year so it’s been easier learning the plays and getting them down.”
With a team full of high-level players and experience now under their belt, the Raiders are looking to get back to the playoffs.
“Our expectations are to make the playoffs and grow together as a team and work together to reach the PSAC Championship,” Green said.
Expectations are high for this season’s squad. They were ranked third in the PSAC East preseason coaches’ poll.
Shippensburg’s season kicks off this weekend when it hosts a Conference Challenge and competes against Wheeling University on Friday and Frostburg State University on Saturday.