Women’s basketball shoots for another big year

Published: November 13, 2014

PHOTO COURTEST OF SCRANTON ATHLETICS JUNIOR FORWARD Sarah Payonk takes the ball to the basket during the Lady Royal’s 82-43 victory over Juniata College on Dec. 4 last year. This year, the Lady Royals enter the season without three of their seniors from last year, as well as a new head coach. Despite the changes, the team is seeking another successful year.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCRANTON ATHLETICS /JUNIOR FORWARD Sarah Payonk takes the ball to the basket during the Lady Royal’s 82-43 victory over Juniata College on Dec. 4 last year. This year, the Lady Royals enter the season without three of their seniors from last year, as well as a new head coach. Despite the changes, the team is seeking another successful year.

RYAN DISDIER
Sports Editor

The University’s women’s basketball team begins its season this weekend in the DeSales Tournament at The College of New Jersey.

The Lady Royals will be looking for another successful year. In the 2014-15 season, the team had an incredibly impressive record of 24-4, and a conference record of 15-1.

Unfortunately, the team’s championship hopes were dashed in the Landmark Conference Championship Game, when they lost to Catholic University 52-51. Despite qualifying, the Lady Royals suffered a first-round elimination in the NCAA Division III Tournament at the hands of Eastern Connecticut State University.

The team is ready for a new year, though, and the team has altered from its 2014 counterpart.

In the offseason, the Lady Royals graduated three players. This year, the returning members of the team will have to step up and produce.

The senior leaders on the team are Noelle Alicea, Jaclyn Gantz and Karolina Meisenbacher. The team will have to try to adapt without last year’s best player, Meredith Mesaris. Mesaris was named an All-American and received all-conference honors during her junior and senior years.

Last year’s team was highly prolific on offense, scoring more than 78 points on six separate occasions. Hopefully the team can continue to be as efficient on offense this season.

The new leaders on the team are not the only changes the Lady Royals will have in the new year. Trevor Woodruff is the team’s new head coach, stepping in for Deanna Klingman, and he expects the team to continue to be successful. Prior to Klingman, Mike Strong served as the team’s head coach from 1979-1993 and then again from 1995-2013.

Woodruff, only the sixth head coach in the program’s history, previously served as the men’s head basketball coach at Misericordia University.

Although he is a new face, Woodruff has a plethora of pedigrees. During his stint at Misericordia, Woodruff, who graduated from Misericordia in 1999, helped lead the team to the Freedom Conference Championship.

Woodruff also helped the team reach the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2012 and 2015, being named coach of the year during both years.

Woodruff will seek to continue the tradition of winning. Success has always been somewhat routine for the Lady Royals. During the history of the program, the team has only hit double-digit losses twice. Since 2000, the Lady Royals have a combined record of 355-131.

The team will look to improve on last year’s successes and hope the younger members of the team step up and production.

The Lady Royals play at 4 p.m. Saturday in the DeSales tournament against TCNJ. The team’s first home action of the season is against Wilkes University on Nov. 21 in the John Long Center.

Contact the writer: ryan.disdier@scranton.edu

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