YORK, PA – York College head women's basketball coach Betsy Witman enters her 23rd season at the helm excited about her Spartan team in 2019-20. This year's edition of the Spartan will be one of the youngest in recent memory as the Spartans don't have a senior on the roster while there are five freshmen on the 15-player team.
"This is a much different team that what we have had the last few years," says Witman. "We are very young but I am very excited about the talent we have on the team. This team has come together quickly and I am looking forward to what they can accomplish as the year progresses."
Witman will look to juniors Kayla Ferris and Molly Day as they provide York with experience and leadership. Ferris, an All-CAC selection last year, has played in 53 games and is the most experienced player on the roster. Ferris averaged 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. She shot 42% from the floor, 35.7% from three and 65.5% from the free throw line.
Day was limited to 12 games last year due to injury as she averaged 8.3 points, 4.2 points and 1.1 assists per game. She was out the final 13 games of the year and was missed by the Spartans over the final month and a half of the season.
Sophomore forward Meghan Carlson will join Ferris and Day in the starting lineup. Carlson played in 23 games last year as she averaged 4.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. She comes into her sophomore campaign stronger and ready to play a big role for the Spartans in the frontcourt this year.
Sophomore Alana Bortner enters her second year in the Green and White as one of the most improved players on the team. Bortner showed flashes of great play last year but was hampered by injury. She averaged 4.2 points, 1.6 assists, and 0.8 assists per game. She has come back stronger and very fit as she will fill out another spot in the Spartan starting lineup. Bortner is a gifted shooter who will be able to pick up the scoring slack from the departed senior class that was responsible for 41.1 points per game.
Junior Lindsay Brown and freshman Savannah Wilson are two likely candidates to fill the fifth spot in the starting lineup. Brown averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 10.6 minutes per game last year. Wilson is a talented guard who is one of York's top newcomers.
Witman has a wealth of depth at the guard position and she will utilize that depth with a deeper rotation than previous years. Junior Sammie Matteo, sophomore Haley Luckabaugh, and freshmen Jayla Galbreath, Tori Geitner, and Meghan Leininger give Witman great options off the bench in the back court.
Matteo averaged 1.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Matteo saw action in 23 games with four starts as she averaged 13.2 minutes per game. Luckabaugh is returning to the lineup after missing last year due to an ACL injury. Galbreath, Geitner and Leininger are a trio of guards who all bring different talents to the squad.
"I love the options we have at guard," says Witman. "I believe that we are going to shoot it at a much higher percentage. We have kids who can consistently make shots from three while we have others that can get to the basket. It's a really good mix."
Day and Carlson will be joined in the front court by freshman Bradi Zumbrum, junior Bailey Smith, sophomore Briaunna Embrey-Banks, and junior Elena Young. Zumbrum comes to York after winning a 3A Pennsylvania State Championship while at Delone Catholic High School. She was the 2018-19 YAIAA Player of the Year while she also earned All-State honors. She is a strong post player who comes into the season with high expectations for her to contribute to the rotation. Smith and Embrey-Banks saw limited time last year but both have worked hard to put themselves into positions to contribute to the Green and White off the bench. Young transferred to York after playing the last two years at Cairn University.
"We are going to be able to play a different brand of basketball this year," says Witman. "We are likely to go 11 deep and we will be able to do that without losing anything on the floor. This team has a ton of versatility and I believe we are going to be able to put out a number of different combinations together during games. We are going to have more of an attack mentality on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor."
Witman also likes how this team has grown together during the preseason.
"I really like our chemistry. They have worked hard during the off-season and that has put us in the position to do more things earlier than I expected. It's been a very productive preseason."
The Spartans open the campaign on Friday, November 8 when they head to Johns Hopkins to take on a talented Blue Jay squad. York will make its home debut on November 12 against Stevenson. The Spartans will play in two in-season tournaments during the year. They will host their annual Coaches vs. Cancer tournament on November 15 and 16 while they will also play in the Montclair State Holiday Tournament on December 28 and 29.