Penn College Women Set for Basketball Season Opener

Published 10.31.2002


Pennsylvania College of Technology women's basketball coach Jeff Chamberlin has mixed feelings heading into his team's season opener Friday night.

On one hand, he has 15 players on his roster, a true luxury considering that many recent Lady Wildcat teams have had fewer than 10.

But on the other hand, 11 of his players are freshmen and it's going to take some game experience on the collegiate level to determine just what kind of a team and season will be in store.

Hosting its annual Lady Wildcat Tip-Off Tournament, Penn College opens against Luzerne County Community College at 6 p.m. before Lehigh Carbon County Community College takes on Practical Bible College at 8 p.m. The consolation and championship games are scheduled for Saturday afternoon. All Wildcat home games are played at Bardo Gymnasium on Third Street.

"We've been blessed this year. It's going to be unusual to look down the bench and see 10 other faces looking back at me," said Chamberlin, who is entering his fourth season as head coach. Last year, his squad posted a 12-12 record.

With only four returning players, Chamberlin is concerned that nobody has stepped up and taken the leadership role, something he thinks is necessary.

Last year, Jessica Weaver, who left as the College's all-time scorer with 655 points, brought that to the team, and, in a way, she'll be able to provide it this season in her role as a student-assistant coach.

"She brings not only her love, but her knowledge of the game, and I think the girls can feed off that. Plus, she's a great leader and motivator," Chamberlin said. Working with 11 freshmen has kept him extra busy in the preseason, however.

"For the last four weeks, I've been running basic defenses and basic offenses and the girls are still having problems picking up what I'm trying to run," the coach said.

Probable Penn College starters will be Tiffany Dawson, a 5-foot-6 freshman point guard from Williamsport; Kristy Owens, a 5-9 sophomore guard/forward from Watsontown; Alicia Medeiros, a 5-11 sophomore center from Eldred; Lindsey Martin, a 5-11 sophomore guard from Hughesville, and either Melissa McKee, a 5-7 sophomore from Milton, or Stephanie Hummer, a 5-9 freshman from Danville, at the other forward position.

Commenting on his projected starters, Chamberlin said of Dawson, "She'll probably be one of the quickest players in the league. She's an extremely quick point guard. I'm looking for her to take control of things and get the ball up and down the court. She just has to get out of the mentality where it's run-and-gun, one-and-done. At this level, it's more about ball control. If she works on the whole ball-control part of the game, that's going to make us a much better team.

Among the other probable starters:

  • "Christy played for me two years ago, then transferred to East Stroudsburg for a year. I think she could have a solid season. She has a nice outside shot. I'm looking for her to step up with some leadership. I need that this year."

  • "Alicia can move up and down the court nicely. She's a little speedier center than what we see in the league. She doesn't have a whole lot of height, but she's a great outside shooter and she can really spread the defenses out for us."

  • "Lindsey is a heck of an athlete. I think she could play at another (higher) level. She's a 5-11 shooting guard and you don't see that very often at our level or Division III. She can drain the 3's when she has the opportunity, plus she can run the court very, very well and get inside and mix it up and grab a few rebounds."

  • "Melissa played last year . . . and can run the court as well as anyone in the league. She's very tenacious, has great basketball instinct. She always knows what's going on, has great vision for the court and she can score some points."

  • "That's the same way with Steph. She has a great instinct for the basketball and she has a really nice outside shot," the coach added.

Top players off the bench for the Lady Wildcats will be freshmen Katharina Zettl, a 5-5 guard, and Patricia Wlodarczak, a 5-8 forward, both international students from Germany who will be with the team for the remainder of the first semester only; Shannon Harris, a 6-foot, forward-center from South Waverly; Stephanie Zimmerman, a 5-4 guard from Cogan Station who was a career 1,000-point scorer at Walnut Street Christian Academy in Williamsport, and Heather Ebling, a 5-7 guard from Sinking Spring.

Rounding out the roster are freshmen Lauren Bevard, 6-2 center from Abington Heights; Stephanie Ward, 5-10 forward from Eldred; Aubree Nilsson, 5-7 guard from Rochester, N.Y., and Rebecca Redding, 5-7 guard from Hanover.

"With the athletes and the speed we've got this year, we're going to try to use that to our advantage. I'm going to look to push the ball up the court a lot," Chamberlin said of his offensive design.

On defense, "I like man-to-man defense. We've had to play zone the last couple of years because we've only had 6-7 players. This year, I want to play man defense 90 percent of the time. I think that's a strength of our team. We're going to look to create turnovers and push the ball up the court," he said.

While Chamberlin looks to perennial powers Manor College, Northampton Community College and Penn State-Berks to again be strong, he said the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference race could be wide open.

"This is probably the toughest I've ever seen the conference. I think there are going to be six or seven really competitive teams that are going to be loaded with talent," he said. "I think it's going to be a dogfight."