Spartans Surge into National Rankings
YORK, PA-The York
College women’s basketball team has earned their first-ever
national ranking as they earned a spot in the d3hoops.com weekly
Top 25 poll through games of Sunday, January 11. The Spartans, who
are 12-1 overall and 5-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference,
debut at #21 as they are sandwiched by CAC rivals Marymount
at #20 and Mary Washington at #22. The Spartans made a national
splash last Wednesday when they picked up a 77-72 win at Mary
Washington which ended the Eagles 35-game home court win streak.
The York women are also ranked 22nd in the
USA Today/ESPN Top 25 women’s basketball poll
while Marymount is 18th and Mary Washington is listed 21st.
The ranking comes in a season that has become one of the best in school history. The Spartans dropped their season opener to #15/#17 Messiah, but have reeled off a school-record 12 straight wins to propel them into the top 25 in the nation.
Spartan mentor Betsy Witman, in her 12th year at the helm of the Spartans, is enjoying her teams’ play so far this year.
“It’s a great honor to be ranked but we need to just keep doing what we have done all year, and that is take one game at a time,” says Witman. “We have a tremendous group of senior leaders that have really done a nice job this season. This team respects each opponent and that has been a key in our preparation for each game.”
Witman’s squad is headlined by senior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford). Ward, who leads the squad in points (16.2 ppg), rebounds (7.2 rpg), and assists (7.8 apg). She is shooting 52% from the floor, 37.8% from three, and 84.8% from the free throw line. Ward also paces the squad with 37 steals. She is ranked third in the nation in assists per game while she is tenth in the country in assist to turnover ratio.
Ward was named the Capital Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Week for January 12. It is the second time the three-time All-CAC performer as earned the honor for the second time this season. Currently, Ward leads the CAC in scoring, assists, steals, and assist to turnover ratio.
Guard April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) continues to be outstanding for the Green and White as the sophomore is averaging 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Sparkman has converted 49.3% of her attempts from the floor, a team-high 46.2% from three, and a blistering 89.7% from the free throw line. Senior Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) is the third Spartan averaging double figures as the long-distance sniper is contributing 12.3 points per game. She is also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Andrews has converted a team-best 20 three-point field goals as she is over 35% from distance for the year. Fellow senior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) begins the game needing 93 points to become the 12th member of York College’s 1,000 career point club. Perez is adding 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 assists, and 1.1 blocked shots per game.
The Spartans are averaging 80.8 points per game while they are surrendering just 54.4 points per contest. The Spartans have out-rebounded their opponents 42.2-to-33.8. York is shooting 48.4% from the field, 36.7% from three and a stellar 75.8% from the charity stripe.
York is all over the national statistical rankings. The Spartans are first in the nation in assists (19.8 apg), second in field goal percentage (48.4%), third in scoring margin (+26.4), third in assist to turnover margin (1.13), fifth in scoring offense (80.8 ppg), tenth in won/lost percentage (92.3%), and 15th in free throw percentage (75.8%).
In the conference, the Spartans are first in scoring offense, scoring margin, free throw percentage, field goal percentage and assists while they are second in scoring defense, three point field goal percentage, and rebounding margin. The Spartans are fourth in three point field goal percentage defense and blocked shots while they rank fifth in field goal percentage defense.
York returns to action on Wednesday, January 14 when they host St. Mary’s in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. Tip time is set for 6:00 pm.