YORK, PA – The York College women's basketball team enters the upcoming season ranked in both the ESPN/USA Today Sports Top 25 and d3hoops.com preseason polls.
The Spartans went 24-6 last year and advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16. York finished second in the Capital Athletic Conference during the regular season and advanced to the championship game where they fell 50-46 to regular season champion Mary Washington. York is coming off the first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in school history. The Spartans have made three of the last four NCAA Tournaments.
York is ranked 19th in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll and 18th in the d3hoops.com poll.
Spartan head coach Betsy Witman welcomes back four starters including All-Capital Athletic Conference selections Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic), Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation), and Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough). Junior Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) is the Spartans other two-year returning starter.
Hicks is York's top returning scorer and rebounder as she averaged 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last year. She shot 45.8% from the floor and 79.2% from the free throw line. Haley averaged 13.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last year while she also shot 48.9% from the floor and 75% from the stripe.
Wallpher led the nation in assists as she handed out 7.3 assists per game. Wallpher also averaged 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Wallpher recorded a team-high 98 steals during the campaign.
Murphy returns as York's top three-point shooter as she averaged 7.8 points per game. Murphy converted a team-high 53 threes during the year as she shot 35.3% from beyond the arc. Murphy is also very accurate from the stripe as she made 86.5% of her attempts from the line.
Witman must replace all-regional guard April Sparkman in the starting lineup but she is confident that the Green and White will find a capable replacement.
Witman is happy the Spartans are getting preseason recognition but believes the polls don't carry very much weight early on in the season.
"It's nice to get recognized but it really doesn't matter that much to us. We have to get better each and every day to be the best team we can be," says Witman. "I would much rather be high in the rankings at the end of the season when people can judge our body of work. I am excited for the season to get started but we have a number of things we need to get better at before the season begins."
The Spartans open the season on Thursday, November 15 when they host Johns Hopkins University in the traditional season opener for the Green and White. The Spartans open conference play on December 1 at St. Mary's College.