Around the Region

On opposite sidelines

Teammates for two years under legendary Scranton women's basketball coach Mike Strong, Kate Pearson and Kelly Lewandowski lead Cabrini and Salisbury programs which are trying to break into Division III's upper echelons. 

It’s been tough, lately, to break into the upper echelon of D-III women’s basketball lately. Still there are a few up and coming teams across the Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic regions ready to break through. For example, Salisbury is 10-0 in the CAC and 16-1 overall, with their only loss coming to a then-undefeated and currently ninth ranked Montclair State. Cabrini is coming off back to back NCAA appearances, sitting on a perfect CSAC record and having won 15 of its last 16 games.

You won’t see these rising programs on each other’s schedule in the near future, though. Coaches Kate Pearson of Cabrini and Salisbury’s Kelly Lewandowski played together at Scranton for two years, remain close friends and aren’t entirely ready to test that friendship on the hardwood. “I know Kelly wants to play, but I just think I’d take it too personally,” Pearson said. “I won’t schedule [former Cabrini head coach and Pearson mentor, now at Haverford] Bobbi Morgan either.”

One team Pearson doesn’t mind playing? Her alma mater. The Cavaliers have topped the Royals in two consecutive seasons, with this year’s victory coming in the midst of a difficult three-game stretch, featuring wins over Richard Stockton and Scranton on consecutive nights, then a thrilling one point loss to Thomas More and defending D3hoops.com Player of the Year, Sydney Moss.

“We had that game won and just made a couple mistakes down the stretch,” says Pearson. “It was a very difficult loss. You never want to lose like that. We don’t like moral victories much around here.”

Still, success on the floor has helped to bring confidence to a team that struggled early to find its identity, having lost four seniors from last year’s squad and the first two games of the 2014-15 campaign.

“We knew we were going to have to ride Amber [Keys],” Pearson said. “She’s a real force inside other teams have trouble with.” Keys, a senior forward and 1,000-point scorer is averaging a double-double this season and providing some cover for her teammates to grow into their roles.

“We put a real emphasis on...

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Columnist

Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott is a long-time D-III basketball supporter and former player currently residing in Middletown, Del., where he serves as a work-at-home dad, doing freelance writing and editing projects. He has written for multiple publications across a wide spectrum of topics. Ryan is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College and is immensely happy this is no longer a laugh line among the D-III basketball community.
2013-14 columnist: Rob Knox
2012-13 columnist: Pete Barrett
2011-12 columnist: Brian Lester

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