Lycoming women look to rebuild after graduation losses

After losing two starters in the backcourt to graduation, the Lycoming College women’s basketball team will rebuild from a promising base of three returning starters and three more important reserves when the team starts its 2016-17 season tonight at Penn State Hazleton.

In her 24th year as head coach, Chris Ditzler said balancing the mix from the returners and a large and talented groups of nine newcomers is going to be key to the results for this year’s team, as it looks to reach the MAC Commonwealth Tournament for the fourth time in five years.

“We are going to be young in the backcourt, but that is OK,” Ditzler said in a statement. “We have a group of talented players that can really change the flow and dynamic of our game, players that are going to be aggressive and push tempo. If we can get them to accept the challenges of doing what they should be doing and not doing too much, we are going to be all right.”

With the loss of starting guards Chelsea Henderson and Olivia Manges to graduation, the Warriors will have to work a group of two returners and seven newcomers into the backcourt. The Warriors will try to pressure and score in transition after posting a turnover ratio of +2.5 last year.

Senior point guard Nicole Calella gives the team a true point guard that can run the floor, play solid defense and slash and drive. She earned honorable mention all-conference honors after averaging 9.1 points and 5.0 assists as a junior.

“Nicole is one of the steadiest players we have had in the program in a long time,” Ditzler said in a statement. “She will make us go. She can get to the basket, she can make plays defensively, she can hit free throws down the stretch. She does all the things you want a point guard to do.”

Freshman Hailey Dayton will see time at the point guard position after a prep career at St. Timothy’s . She earned all-conference honors in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland.

Freshman Akilah McFadden, a Lewisburg graduate who was a first-team all-conference guard, will also work for time at the position, but will also see time immediately in the rotation at shooting guard.