RELEASE DATE: 2/26/07
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mountaineer Women Face # 1 Seeded East Stroudsburg Tomorrow in PSAC Playoffs Round One
MANSFIELD -- The Mountaineer women's basketball team will travel to East Stroudsburg to take on the Warriors in the first round of the PSAC Playoffs tomorrow evening at Kohler Field House.
Mansfield, the number four seed in the East, secured the second playoff appearance in school history and the second consecutive playoff appearance by tying the school record for conference wins in a season with six. The Mountaineer women finished with a 13-13 overall record and a 6-6 conference mark.
The 13 regular season wins is the second highest win total by the women's program in school history. The Mountaineers won 14 games in the 2004 season but finished with a losing record of 14-16 (5-7 East) and had their only winning season in history in 1982 when they finished 14-12 (3-5 PSAC).
Much of the Mountaineer women's success lies in the hands of senior Jessica Uhrich. Uhrich earned a school record eighth PSAC Player of the Week honor last week after averaging 29.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in the final two regular season games. She set the new single season scoring record with 492 points, passing the legendary Alison Tagliaferri who scored 465 points last season.
Uhrich ranks second in the PSAC in scoring and rebounding averaging a double-double of 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. She has scored 492 points and pulled down 260 rebounds this season while dishing out 70 assists and recording 38 steals. Her 260 rebounds this season give her 852 career rebounds which ties her for third all-time with Alison Tagliaferri. She ranks 10th in assists with 216 and 12th in steals with 144 in her career. She has played 877 minutes this season.
Uhrich has been impressive in both games against East Stroudsburg this season. The senior captain averaged 28.0 points and 12.0 rebounds against the Warriors this year after a 31 point and 14 rebound performance at Mansfield on February 21st and a 25 point and 10 rebound performance at ESU on January 29th.
The Mountaineers lost both of those contests, by only seven and eight points however. The Warriors defeated Mansfield 84-77 at ESU and 70-62 at Mansfield behind the stellar 64% shooting of Jackie Yandrisevits who averaged 24.5 points against Mansfield including a 33 point performance at Decker Gymnasium in the previous contest.
The Warriors have also gotten stellar bench play in both previous games this season with Alyssa Antolick coming off the bench to average 19.5 points per game. Maryellen Onofre rounds out the double-figure scorers averaging 10.0 points against the Mountaineers this season.
The Mountaineers also have two other players averaging double-figures against the Warriors this season. Courtney Brooks averaged 12.5 points per game against ESU and hit 3.0 3-pointers per game while recording 3.0 steals per game. Mallory Hafer averaged 11.5 points per game while hitting six 3-pointers.
Brooks, who ranks 12th in the Nation for steals per game, is only four steals away from tying the school record for steals in a season. The speedy point guard has 85 takeaways this year and has dished out a team-high 84 assists. She has demonstrated the abilities of a clutch player in the final minutes of games this season shooting impressively from the free-throw line to secure multiple wins for the Mountie women.
Hafer established the new single season mark for 3-pointers early in the season and has improved that record to 73 entering the playoffs. She has scored in double figures in 16 games this season with her most impressive showing coming in a double overtime win on the road at Cheyney back on January 20th. The sophomore scored a career high 32 points on a ridiculous 80% 3-point percentage that saw her set the school record for 3-pointers in a game with eight 3-pointers.
Clarissa Correll has been impressive down the stretch for the Mountaineers. The sophomore guard may not be the biggest scoring threat, but her speed and agility on the defensive end of the court has garnered her five steals against the Warriors. Correll has also demonstrated the ability to score having put up double figures in eight games this season.
Freshman Merissa Gaeta has moved into the starting lineup down the stretch and has been a significant factor on both ends of the floor. The 5'10" freshman provides the Mountaineers with another player in the post with the ability to block shots and pull down rebounds. On the offensive end of the floor, Gaeta has demonstrated her ability to hit from the paint as well as from the outside.
Jeanette Meacham has shared the post responsibility with Gaeta as of late. Meacham came on strong starting in the final regular season game and putting up a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Bloomsburg. She has pulled down five or more rebounds in 13 games this season.
Emily Akins has been a key factor to the Mountaineers success with impressive play off the bench. The sophomore has demonstrated an improved shot from anywhere on the floor and has developed a fearless approach to taking more shots this season. She has scored nine or more points in seven games this season.
Brittany Reed has bounced back from injury to become a threat off the bench this season. Reed stepped into the limelight this season against West Chester in a critical PSAC East game when she knocked down 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to secure the Mountaineer victory and ultimately a spot in the playoffs.
Kelli Eastman has bumped her minutes to nearly nine minutes a game this season. The junior has improved her ball handling skills and has developed an eye for the open player as she has dished out 20 assists on the season.
Sophomore Katie Akins has also bumped her minutes up this season playing 7.1 minutes per game. The sophomore forward plays behind scoring sensation Jessica Uhrich and junior Jeanette Meacham but has gained valuable experience throughout the season. She has demonstrated an ability score from the post and has also become a rebounding threat.
Freshman Danylle Jones, one of the most prolific scorers in Troy High School history, has appeared in eight games this season for the Mountaineers. The freshman guard has gained valuable experience playing behind Courtney Brooks, Mallory Hafer, and Clarissa Correll and will no doubt become an influential part of the Mountaineer squad in seasons to come.
The Mountaineer women enter the playoffs coming off back-to-back losses to end the season after falling to East Stroudsburg 70-62 at home and fading in the final minute at Bloomsburg suffering a 72-69 loss.
Mansfield will need to improve their road play at ESU tomorrow night as the Mountaineer women have only won two games on the road this season and only one PSAC East game on the road.
East Stroudsburg enters the game at 23-4 overall and 11-1 in the PSAC East. Their only loss in the conference came at West Chester back on February 10th when the Golden Rams beat the Warriors 74-53. Since then, ESU has closed out the regular season with a six game win streak outscoring their opponents 462 to 312.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm at Kohler Field House in East Stroudsburg. The game will be broadcast on the Mountaineer sports network on WNTE 89.5fm and will also be broadcast on the MSA sports network online.
The winner will travel to either West Chester or Millersville (depending on who wins that contest) to face the winner of the Shippensburg vs. California game on Friday, March 2nd at 5:00 pm. The Championship bracket can be found on the PSAC Homepage.
Check back here at www.GoMounties.com tomorrow evening for the game story, photos, and stats.