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Penn College women have been in plenty of close games this year

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Loyalsock graduate Cassi Kuhns drives to the basket against Penn State Harrisburg for Penn College during a game Friday night at Bardo Gym. The Wildcats are 2-10, but of those 10 losses, six have been by 9 or fewer points.

Penn College’s women’s team is 2-10, but they are just a few possessions away from having a winning record. Of those 10 losses, six have been by nine or fewer points. And while those losses are tough and frustrating for the Penn College players and coaching staff, it’s a step in the right direction.

Those 10 losses aren’t indicative of the talent Penn College’s roster consists of.

“It absolutely does not (reflect our talent). I think we have all the pieces to the puzzle on this team. If we can start putting it together, which I think we are getting there, we’ll definitely be a team people won’t have an easy night against and that’s a great feeling to have,” Penn College coach Britni Mohney said. “This program has not been a winning program the past couple of years, so the fact we are competing and not getting blown out and making it to the final finish? This program’s right on track to where it needs to be.”

Penn College had a trio of players record double-doubles in Friday night’s narrow loss to PSU Harrisburg, 71-66, in Ja’Quela Dyer (career-high 20 points, 13 rebounds), Rachel Teats (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Loyalsock graduate Cassi Kuhns (10 points, 12 rebounds).

Mohney knows the United East will provide a lot of challenging tests for the Wildcats as the heart of the league schedule gets going. But this year, the league is really anyone’s for the taking.

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Penn College's Jesse White tries to score against Penn State Harrisburg during a game on Friday at Bardo Gym. The Wildcat men have a young squad with a lot of potential.

“I think one of the craziest things about the women’s side in the United East is that it’s anybody’s ball game. You watch games throughout the conference and people are upsetting people left and right,” Mohney said. “There’s no ‘these are the top dogs,’ and I think you saw that tonight. This was a battle and it’s going to be a battle across the conference.

“We have to control the things we can control and that’s going out and giving 110 percent on the court so that we can get into that playoff position.”

And don’t be surprised if Penn College is right in the thick of things come early February.

A YOUNG SQUAD

It’s no secret that Penn College’s roster is on the younger side. In total, the Wildcats have 13 players that are either freshmen or sophomores. But that doesn’t matter to coach Geoff Hensley. He and his staff know the Wildcats have potential and you can consider Friday’s game against Penn State Harrisburg a prime example to showcase that.

The Lions have a veteran lineup and featured a lot of juniors and seniors on the court at Bardo Gym on Friday night. And for the first 20 minutes of the game, Penn College’s freshmen and sophomores that played held their own against the United East-leading Lions.

“We have so much potential. I love our freshmen and sophomores,” Hensley said after Saturday’s loss to PSU Harrisburg, 92-74. “Their whole team was juniors and seniors out there, so our freshmen and sophomores were competing with the best team in our conference’s juniors and seniors. The next two or three years are going to be very exciting for us.”

Freshman Gavin Barrett had 12 points, second behind only Jesse White’s 14. Both are freshmen.

In addition, Nouhanadou Diallo (9), Rees Watkins (4) and Gerald Ross (5) all made an impact as freshmen.

“We’re very young, we have a lot of freshman who play. As soon as we can figure that out, we can play with anybody in our conference,” Hensley said. “We just have to take care of the ball, limit our turnovers and take great shots.”

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