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Penn College winter sports seasons set to resume

After their holiday break, Pennsylvania College of Technology winter sports teams are set to get back into action as the men’s and women’s basketball squads return to the hardcourt with games Sunday and Monday, respectively, and the wrestlers will be back on the mats Friday and Saturday (Jan. 7-8) in the Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The wrestling team subsequently withdrew from the Whitehill event.)

Men’s basketball
“We are continuing to work hard and improve every day. We are very young and using each practice and game as an opportunity to learn and grow,” coach Geoff Hensley said as his team looks to improve on its 1-7 start Sunday at Misericordia University in a nonconference game.

After another nonconference contest Tuesday at Juniata College, the Wildcats will enter United East Conference play the rest of the way starting on Saturday, Jan. 8.

“I’m proud of our team for their commitment to the process and eagerness to get better,” Hensley continued. “Right now, our defense is solid and strong, based on solid man-to-man principles with great help-side rotations to defend as a five-man unit.

“Our offense has struggled at times with our low field goal percentage and high turnover rate. We’ve had multiple games that showed our glimpse of potential when we are taking and making good shots while taking good care of the basketball.

“As a young team, we anticipated some early bumps in the road, and after we learn from these bumps, we hope to hit our stride in conference play in January and February.

“The UEC is getting stronger each year, and with the addition of St. Mary’s this season, every conference game is a battle – but that’s what makes college basketball so exciting.

“Postseason play will be even more competitive this year as only the top four teams will advance to the UEC tournament. With us only playing two conference games to date, it’s difficult to say where we will finish. We are taking it day by day with the mentality of continuous improvement and growing together as a team.”

UEC standings: Penn State Harrisburg, 2-0; Lancaster Bible College, 2-0; St. Mary’s (Md.) College, 2-0; Penn College, 1-1; Gallaudet University, 1-1; Penn State Abington, 0-0; Wells College, 0-2; Morrisville State College, 0-2; Penn State Berks, 0-2.

Women’s basketball
The women’s team is 1-7 going into Monday’s contest at Mt. Aloysius College and plays its last nonconference game on Wednesday at Wilkes University before stepping into the UEC.

“With conference play coming up, we want to work on limiting our turnovers in the rest of our nonconference games to help us prepare,” coach Britni Mohney said. “We are shooting better from the field, dishing more assists, outrebounding teams; but we give up too many opportunities to the other team from our mistakes and they are capitalizing.

“We need to get more confident with the basketball, our passes and our decision making. If we can limit our turnovers and give ourselves more opportunities to score, we can be a contender in the conference.”

Like all college women this season, Penn College players also continue to adjust to the new 3-point line that saw the shooting distance moved back from 20 feet, 9 inches to 22 feet, 1¾ inches, the same as the college men.

During their last competitive season in 2019-20, the Wildcats made 26.6% of their 3-point shots. So far this season, they are hitting just 18.4%.

“With the 3-point line being pushed back this year, we haven’t taken many 3-pointers in our games because our shooting percentage is not where it should be to take those shots. Our players have not gotten comfortable shooting at the longer range yet, so we need to work on our range in the offseason to prepare ourselves to be better shooters with the adjustments made by the NCAA,” Mohney said. “Right now, our strengths are shooting inside the 3-point arc, and that is where our game will remain.”

On the plus side, two Penn College players, Rachel Teats, of Middleburg, and Ja’Quela Dyer, of Dover, Delaware, are ranked nationally in Division III as Teats is 15th with an 89.6 free throw percentage and Dyer is 35th, averaging 11.5 rebounds per game. According to the UEC website, 423 teams and more than 6,000 athletes compete in D-III basketball.

“Rachel has made it her goal to try to stay above 90% from the free-throw line this season,” Mohney said. “She is a knockdown shooter and has shown that through her confidence at the line. We know we can count on her to step up to the charity stripe and knock down free throws for us.

“Ja’Quela, in seasons past and currently, has always been a rebounding force. Her expectations are to enhance her rebounds by working towards a double-double in points and rebounds.

“Their determination and consistency in their respective talents help our program tremendously.”

UEC standings: St. Mary’s (Md.) College, 2-0; Lancaster Bible College, 2-0; Penn College, 1-1; Gallaudet University, 1-1; Penn State Harrisburg, 1-1; Morrisville State College, 1-1; Penn State Abington, 0-0; Wells College, 0-2; Penn State Berks, 0-2.

Wrestling
Wildcat wrestlers are coming off a 2-2 split on Dec. 20 at the Rennie Roadarmel Allstate Duals, also at Lycoming College, that saw their season record go to 2-3.

“We need to stay disciplined over the break,” coach Jamie Miller said afterward. “This is a really tough time of year for guys to keep their conditioning high and their weight under control over the holidays.

“With the Budd Whitehill Duals, our toughest competition to date within a few days of our return to campus, it’s going to be important that we stay active. We need to bring the same effort and competitive drive when we get back that we had Dec. 20.”

SCHEDULES/RECORDS/RESULTS
Men’s basketball
Overall: 1-7
UEC: 1-1
Sunday, Jan. 2 – at Misericordia University, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 4 – at Juniata College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 8 – at Lancaster Bible College (UEC), 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 11 – at Penn State Abington (UEC), 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14 – host Penn State Harrisburg (UEC), 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 19 – at Wells College (UEC), 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 22 – host Morrisville State College (UEC), 1 p.m.

Women’s basketball
Overall: 1-7
UEC: 1-1
Monday, Jan. 3 – at Mt. Aloysius College, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 5 – at Wilkes University, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 8 – at Lancaster Bible College (UEC), 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 11 – at Penn State Abington (UEC), 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14 – host Penn State Harrisburg (UEC), 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 19 – at Wells College (UEC), 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 22 – host Morrisville State College (UEC), 1 p.m.

Wrestling
Overall: 2-3
Friday, Jan. 7 – 33rd Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College, withdrew
Saturday, Jan. 8 – 33rd Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College, withdrew
Saturday, Jan. 15 – host Mid-Winter Classic at Liberty Arena vs. Muhlenberg College, 1 p.m.; vs. Scranton University, 2:30 p.m.; vs. McDaniel College, 4 p.m.; vs. New York University, 5:30 p.m.; vs. Elizabethtown College, (5:30 p.m.)
Friday, Jan. 21 – host Alvernia University (alumni & friends) at Liberty Arena, 6 p.m.

For more about the United East, visit the conference website.

For additional information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 20

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