Record season continues for Bullets in NCAAs

More news about: Gettysburg

GETTYSBURG, Pa.  A record-breaking season continues for the Gettysburg women's basketball team as it marches on to the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship to face Albright this Friday at 5 p.m. inside the Panzer Athletic Center on the campus of Montclair State University.
The Bullets are making their first trip to the national playoffs since 2013 and it is the sixth overall appearance for the program. After coming so close the prior season, the trip is the realization of an early season goal for the coaching staff and players.
"Obviously it's an exciting time," said coach Nate Davis. "To be able to continue in what we set out at the beginning of the season to do and to be playing in the NCAA Tournament is extremely exciting and fulfilling for our players. I'm so happy for them. It's a great feeling so we want to hopefully continue it."
Davis, who was named the Centennial Coach of the Year on Tuesday, has led the Bullets to the NCAA Tournament in just his third year at the helm. While it's the first trip for his student-athletes, Davis has been on the national stage recently. In 2015, he led Eastern University to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in program history.
After finishing runner-up in the conference last season, Gettysburg rocketed through the schedule this winter, setting a program record for victories in a season with a mark of 25-2. The Bullets went 19-1 in conference play and avenged their only regular-season setback with a 44-35 win over Haverford College in the league championship game.
Gettysburg, which is ranked 22nd by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, has reeled off 15 consecutive wins entering NCAAs, leaving the team just two wins shy of the program record set in 1984-85. The Orange and Blue featured three players on the All-Centennial team, led by senior Emily Gibbons (Annapolis, Md./Severn School), who was tabbed Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Gibbons is averaging a double-double (13.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg) entering nationals.
Junior Emma Dorshimer (Jenkintown, Pa./Jenkintown) leads the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game and was named All-CC First Team for the second-straight year. Sophomore Ashley Gehrin (Chester, N.J./West Morris Mendham) was tagged honorable mention all-conference as the team's third-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game. Senior Kendra Meredith (Boyds, Md./Northwest) leads the team in assists (3.7 apg) and steals (1.7 spg), while averaging 6.2 points per game.
Gettysburg will face a playoff field this weekend that includes three recent NCAA participants. Albright, Montclair State, and SUNY Old Westbury have all reached the national playoffs multiple times in the last three seasons.
"You don't get selected to be in this tournament unless you've won a lot of games, had a lot of success, and have great players that make plays," noted Davis. "Our first focus is on Albright and making sure that we can put our best effort forward against them and hopefully get at it Friday night with a win."
Albright (20-7, 14-2 MAC Commonwealth) clinched a spot in the NCAA filed for the third consecutive season as an at-large selection. The Lions came up short in the MAC Commonwealth Tournament to Messiah College, but the team's resume featured strong regular-season wins over the Falcons and then No. 1 Tufts University. Albright has won at least 21 games in each of the last four years.
The Lions are experienced with a starting lineup featuring four seniors, including MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year, Alysha Lofton. Lofton is averaging 14.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season. Classmates Nina Mazzarelli (14.1 ppg) and Devan Horka (12.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) are also averaging double-figures.
Should the Bullets get by the Lions, the winner between host No. 16 Montclair State and Old Westbury awaits Saturday at 5 p.m. Montclair State is making its sixth-straight appearance after winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference title. The Red Hawks have hosted NCAA games five consecutive years. In 2015 the program made its first appearance in the national semifinals.
Senior Katie Sire was named the NJAC Player of the Year and paces the team with 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Senior Taylor Harmon is averaging 12.3 points per game.
Old Westbury won the Skyline Conference title for the second time in three seasons to receive an automatic bid. The Panthers avenged two regular-season defeats by beating top-seeded Mount Saint Mary (N.Y.) College 53-47 in the Skyline title game. The program made its first-ever NCAA appearance in 2016.
Junior Monique Joseph was named the Skyline Defender of the Year after posting 4.8 steals per game. She is also averaging 13.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Junior Charlotte Renker earned first-team all-conference honors after averaging 14.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.
Gettysburg is the relative newcomer heading into this weekend's event, but the Bullets are battle-tested and know how to come up with the big plays during crunch time.
"I think the teams that are able to relax, that are able to play confident and poised are going to be successful," said Davis. "We've got to really focus in on getting our players to settle in, settle down, and play to the best of their ability. If we do that I think we have as good a chance as anybody to come out of the weekend successful."
Ticket prices for the event are $7 for adults and $4 for students, senior citizens, and children. All spectator parking is in the Red Hawk Deck.  Exit at level 2 and proceed down the hill to Panzer Athletic Center. There is a fee for parking.
Each game will feature live video and live stats.