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Wildcat Women’s Basketball Team Reaches PSUAC Final Four

The Pennsylvania College of Technology women's basketball squad gathers for a team photo during 'Meet the Wildcats Night' in November. (Photo by Jessica L. Tobias, student photographer)For the third consecutive season, the Pennsylvania College of Technology women’s basketball team has reached the Penn State University Athletic Conference Final Four.

Tuesday night, the Lady Wildcats (18-8 overall, 12-4 PSUAC) eliminated Penn State Greater Allegheny, 76-64, at Bardo Gym in the quarterfinals. The win propelled them into a berth in Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal against Penn State Schuylkill (19-2, 15-1) at the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State ‘s main campus.

In the other semifinal at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Jordan Center , Penn State Beaver (19-8, 14-3) and Penn State Brandywine (19-8, 12-4) will clash. Friday’s winners play for the championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, also at the Jordan Center.

“A win is a win. We were a little bit flatter than I expected, but offensively we did a lot of things right,” Alison Tagliaferri, in her first season as coach at Penn College , said. “We plan on picking up on our defense the next two days of practice and go into Friday’s game, hopefully, with a little more oomph at the defensive end.”

Reaching the Final Four was a goal all season, according to Tagliaferri.

“I didn’t really know what to expect this year when I came in, but I was lucky to have a great group of girls to work with. They all have a lot of talent and heart.

“We set this goal from the beginning of the season. Whether it was my first year, or adjustments that they had to make to a new coach, it was still our goal and I’m pretty proud of them for being able to achieve it,” the coach said.

In PS Schuylkill, the Lady Wildcats face a team they lost to twice during the regular season, but that means nothing now, Tagliaferri said. Penn College has won five straight games since a 57-38 loss to Schuylkill Feb. 16.

“Schuylkill is a great team; they have a lot of weapons. But I think we match up with them quite well. We have a little more height and I hope we can use that to our advantage,” the coach said.

“But, I don’t believe that there has been a team in the league that has beaten us outright. I think in all of our league losses we’ve done things to beat ourselves. The game at Schuylkill we shot horribly, we’d be lucky if we shot 30 percent that game. And the game we lost to them at home, we were leading the whole game and couldn’t come up with it at the end. We made some poor decisions in the last five minutes of the game,” she continued.

Penn College has had mixed success in previous trips to the Final Four. In 2005-06, under then-coach Ron Kodish, it beat Penn State York, 77-52, in the semifinals and then won the championship by edging Penn State Harrisburg, 69-67. Last year, also under Kodish, it lost in the semifinals to Penn State Delaware, 66-35.

“I have confidence in the girls that they can beat any of the teams in our league. They just have to want it and show up to play with the same energy that we had against Brandywine (a 69-65 Penn College win) last Friday.

I think they’ll be ready. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a statement in the league Friday night and come out with a victory,” Tagliaferri added.

( Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site. )

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