Wildcat Women PSUAC Basketball Champs; Stupar Super Throughout College Career
For two seasons, Katlyn Stupar has been a dominant force every time she stepped onto the court for the Pennsylvania College of Technology women's basketball team.
Last season as a freshman, the 5-foot-10 forward from State College scored a school single-season record 526 points in 17 games. She also set a single-game record with 43 points in one game that she equaled again this year.
While her scoring average was down nearly 10 points a game this year from last because of better balance and greater offensive contributions from her teammates, when it came to crunch time in the March 4 Penn State University Athletic Conference title game, she was in the spot she was born for.
With the game tied at 67 and just two-tenths of a second showing on the Bryce Jordan Center scoreboard clock, Stupar calmly knocked down two free throws to ice the championship, 69-67, over Penn State Harrisburg.
"We got a steal with eight seconds to go (under defensive double-team pressure from Natali Plavi of Elderton and Brittany Blessard of Renovo) and got it to Katlyn running down court. She was fouled and missed the lay-up, but I thought to myself, this is our game," said Ron Kodish, Penn College coach, describing the finish.
"The last two weeks of the season, you could see her focus and determination. She was not going to let the team lose. It was fitting that she was at the foul line with those few precious tenths of a second remaining with an opportunity to win the basketball game," Kodish said.
In the championship game, Stupar finished 13-of-13 at the foul line and closed out her career with a school-record 998 points.
With its 19th win of the season (the team finished 19-8 overall and was 15-1 against league opponents), the Lady Wildcats tied the women's single-season win record set in 1998-99. Penn State Harrisburg finished 10-6 overall.
Three years ago, Penn College was 2-22. With Stupar on the team, it went 37-17 and, in games she actually played (she missed seven last year and four this season due to class conflicts), the Lady Wildcats were 32-8.
"I was fortunate to have really dedicated basketball players," Kodish said. "I've been coaching going on 30 years (overall, this was his fifth with the Lady Wildcats) and learned how to handle the players, especially the female athletes. It's so much more of a social and emotional game and I've gotten used to that aspect of the game. I understand where they're coming from with their emotion."
"She's (Stupar) going to be missed, but, hopefully, what she was able to do will attract the attention of other players like her to turn to Penn College; and not just Katlyn, but the Brittany Blessards and the Natali Plavis those kids who have meant so much to the program," Kodish continued.
"We're going to graduate good players every year, but you've got to have good players ready to step into their shoes. There are big shoes to fill, but we've got players waiting in the wings, chomping at the bit for the opportunity," said Kodish, who is assisted by Joe Weisser.
"I'm hopeful that the Greater Williamsport area realizes what we've started here with the women's basketball program. We're not a two-year school any more, its a legitimate four-year athletic program and hopefully we'll have some younger athletes looking at Penn College as a place that they can continue playing at the next level... playing at a high level.
"Having competed against seven Division III schools this season has really helped our team grow. We've stepped up and started playing these established four-year programs, and we've beaten a couple this year. I want the area to know about it and I want to develop a program that's got a roster filled with our local athletes. There are a lot of great young women basketball players out there who I would like to see come to Penn College," Kodish added.