MONT ALTO, Pa. – The Penn State Mont Alto women's basketball team announced its 2018-19 schedule which opens on Friday, November 9 at the Central Penn Tip-off Tournament. Under the direction of second year head coach Mary Miller, the Nittany Lions return three upperclassmen and the rest of the roster is expected to feature nine freshmen.
"I'm excited for this incoming class as they all bring something different to the team, whether its personality, talent, or a new set of determination," head coach Mary Miller said. "They are all stepping up and showing us what they have to offer, and I've been really impressed by their competitiveness in practices."
The freshman class not only adds a much-needed source of depth to the Nittany Lions bench but adds a more up-tempo style of play. Kyah Rucker (Harrisburg, Pa. / Susquehanna Township), Meagan Smith (Littlestown, Pa. / Littlestown), Madison Bishop (Newville, Pa. / Newville) and Kara Newell (Shippensburg, Pa. / Shippensburg) are going to be an asset to Mont Alto's offense, providing the team with ample ball handlers with speed and agility. Rucker, Bishop, and Newell are going to be threats from any spot on the court with each possessing the ability to drive and kick the ball out to teammates on the wing. Meagan Smith (Littlestown, Pa. / Littlestown) is going to be a dark horse for the team as a key energy player who is willing and capable of filling any role asked of her.
Down in the post, PSUMA will rely upon newcomers Mariah Martin (Shippensburg, Pa. / Shippensburg), Jazmin Walker (Hanover, Pa. / Southwestern), Christine Cornman (Spring Grove, Pa. / Spring Grove), and Mercedes McKinley (Hedgesville, W.Va. / Hedgesville) to replace the production of Alexis Shaffer who was lost to graduation. Shaffer totaled 13.8 rebounds and 15.2 points per game.
On the other side of the token, Mont Alto returns a trio of guards in seniors Karley Coleman (Hanover, Pa. / Delone Catholic) and Rebekah Adams (York, Pa. / Central York) as well as sophomore Julianne Noveras (Gaithersburg, Md. / Gaithersburg) who each saw substantial playing time in previous years. Coleman averaged a career-high 5.5 assists per game, while also grabbing 5.1 boards a game. Adams shot a team-high 49.5 percent from the floor and Noveras averaged 8.8 points per game during the 2017-18 campaign.
"Our upperclassman bring leadership and knowledge of how to win games our way," Miller said. "Karley and Jay are both gym rats who bring competitiveness and great vision to the floor, while Becca brings an outstanding work ethic and always puts it all on the line no matter the number of minutes being played."
Mont Alto looks to improve their performance both in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) as well as non-conference play after finishing with a 5-18 overall record during the 17-18 season. Coach Miller emphasized the team's main goal is to be a top competitor in each of their contests this season.
"Our big focus is one game at a time, Miller said. "I want to see us grow as teammates, we don't focus on things we do great as individuals, but the things we do together and the results will come."
PSUMA's first matchup is right around the corner as they kick off their season on November 9 against the College of Southern Maryland. Mont Alto will then play Central Penn on Saturday, Nov. 10 and will host Christendom College on Nov. 13 in their home opener.
Mont Alto begins play in the PSUAC with a pair of road games against Penn State Brandywine (Nov. 30) and at Penn State Lehigh Valley (Dec. 1)