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Arcadia University Women’s Basketball Season Preview

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 at 5:47 am

First year head coach Crystal Gibson arrived on campus just weeks before the first practice, but she is more than ready to lead the Knights into their first of many seasons of Commonwealth Conference competition.  A former player and assistant at Commonwealth school Lebanon Valley College, she most recently served as the assistant coach at Frostburg State University (MD) during the past two seasons. She is excited and focused for her first season at Arcadia and will look to the five returning players to provide leadership, and to some key newcomers to bring an added spark to the team.

Coach Gibson and the 2008-09 Knights look to improve on last year’s season where they finished 8-17 overall, 4-8 in the Freedom Conference. Returning players from last season include graduate student Caitlin Sparks (Harleysville, PA/Souderton) back for her fourth season of eligibility, senior Shannon Bustin (Glenolden, PA/Interboro), junior Kim Milligan (Crofton, MD/South River), and sophomores Kim Lomas (Somerdale, NJ/Sterling) and Corrine Geiger (Perkasie, PA/Pennridge). While the team loses their physical and emotional leader from last year, point guard Stephanie Bates ‘08, Coach Gibson is expecting Sparks to bring key leadership inside the paint.  At the end of last season, Sparks netted her 1,000th career point, led the squad with 13.2 ppg and 8 rpg, and was named to the Freedom Conference first team and to the D3Hoops All-Mid-Atlantic second team.

In the back court, Gibson expects Milligan and Bustin to use their experience to fill the void at point guard this year. Milligan returns to her role as a starter and brings consistent scoring; in 2007-08 she averaged 9.2 ppg, nailed 40 triples, dished out 32 assists and grabbed 20 steals.  While Bustin saw limited minutes last season, coach Gibson is relying on her quickness and scrappy defensive play to generate turnovers that the Knights hope to convert into points. The team will also look to Lomas and Geiger along with Sparks for strong post play and rebounding. Lomas started 23 of 25 contests as a first year averaging 7.7 ppg while leading the squad in blocks with 17. With one season under her belt, Geiger will be called upon for consistent rebounding on both ends and providing points in the paint.

Three transfer students will be joining the Arcadia Women’s Basketball team this year, including sophomores Brittany Bontemps (Yardley, PA/Villa Joseph Marie), Liz Plum (Deptford, NJ/Gloucester Catholic), Chanel Murphy (Merion Station,PA/Lower Merion). Bontemps, who helped the University of Scranton to an NCAA berth last season, and Plum should see immediate action at the point, off guard, and small forward positions.  First years Brittany Selleck (Selinsgrove, PA/Shikellamy), Samantha Olgesby(Torrance, CA/North High), and sophomore Stephanie Buohl (Parkesburg, PA/Octorara) will provide much needed energy, hustle, and explosiveness. Murphy as the lone incoming forward will provide great leaping ability, rebounding, and hustle down in the post position.

Although the team has more newcomers than returners, experience will be the Knights strength, with all but three players having at least one year of collegiate basketball experience and a coaching staff well seasoned among the ranks of the Commonwealth Conference.  Joining Coach Gibson on the sidelines this year will be Erin Nemshick.  Nemshick is a 2005 graduate of Widener University, where she helped the Pride to a Commonwealth Conference championship in 2004.  She also sports experience on the sidelines, having served in a pair of two-year assistant coaching stints at Cheney University and Manhattanville College.  Coach Gibson boasts of the team’s court awareness and basketball IQ as well as their shooting potential and describes this season’s expectations as “limitless.”

The Knights will open their season at home against Wilkes University on Saturday, November 15 at 2:00 PM.  And it seems only fitting that Coach Gibson and her team open their 2008-2009 Commonwealth slate hosting her Alma Matter, Lebanon Valley College on January 6.

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