CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The Penn State Lehigh Valley women’s basketball team used a strong fourth quarter to pull away and win the 2019 Penn State University Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Championship over Penn State Beaver on Feb. 24 in the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park. Lehigh Valley outscored Beaver 18-5 in the final stanza to grab a 61-44 win and the PSUAC automatic bid into the USCAA National Championship Tournament.
Sarah McGee led all scorers with 16 points, leading Lehigh Valley on 6-for-15 shooting, while also pulling down eight rebounds. Lehigh Valley suffocated Beaver on the defensive end, forcing the Lions to shoot 17.5 percent from the field. That left plenty of rebounds to be had, and Lehigh Valley had three players grab double-digit rebounds. First team All-Conference member Ebony Sanders grabbed 16 boards to go with 8 points, while East Division Rookie of the Year, Kion Andrews, added 12 rebounds and 5 assists. Anaya White added 10 rebounds, while Jah'nel Oliver added 12 points.
“What an amazing season and experience for this team and these players. They deserve it,” said Lorie Khalil, Penn State Lehigh Valley women’s basketball head coach. “The result of the championship game was all the crazy amount of hard work, sacrifice, commitment and teamwork they put into all season long.”
Beaver was led by First team member Alexis Cross with 13 points. She will lead her team to the USCAA tournament as an at-large team as Beaver earned the fifth seed and will look to capture their second USCAA National Championship.
Lehigh Valley will look for their first USCAA title in any sport as the tournament is set to begin at Penn State Fayette in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, March 3. Penn State Lehigh Valley will face Warren Wilson College in the Quarterfinals at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 4.
“The women’s basketball team has had an outstanding year. They are fun to watch. They have all the qualities found on championship teams: great work ethic, team-first mentality, a balanced offensive attack and outstanding team defense. In addition, they are excellent students who always represent our campus with class,” said Rich Fatzinger, Penn State Lehigh Valley athletic director.
PSUAC honors players and Coach Khalil
Six players from the Penn State Lehigh Valley men’s and women's basketball programs and one coach have been recognized by the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) for their outstanding performances throughout the 2018-19 season.
PSUAC Coach of the Year: Lorie Khalil (a 2003 graduate of Moravian College; this is her fifth season at Penn State Lehigh Valley and her 14th season coaching overall).
Women's Basketball Honors — 24-2 Overall Record
- PSUAC East Rookie of the Year and First Team East: Kion Andrews (Allentown, PA/William Allen HS) Andrews was the team’s leading scorer at 17 points per game.
- PSUAC First Team East: Ebony Sanders (a junior from Bakersfield, California, and graduate of Independence High School). Sanders surpassed the 1,000-point milestone, becoming the fourth women's basketball player in school history to do so and the sixth overall, on Feb. 19 when the women’s basketball team advanced to the PSUAC Semifinals with a 109-41 win over No. 4 Penn State Scranton.
- East Defensive Player of the Year: Jah’nel Oliver (Easton, PA/Easton HS)
- John Fritz Sportsmanship Award: Makayla Brown-Paul (Oxon Hill, MD/Oxon Hill HS)
Men's Basketball Honors — 7-15 Overall Record
- PSUAC East Player of the Year and First Team East: Jeremiah Jenkins (Sanford, NC/ Overhills HS). Jenkins led the PSUAC in scoring at 23.2 points per game.
- John Fritz Sportsmanship Award: Lewis Hargett (Bethlehem, PA/ Freedom HS).
The John Fritz Sportsmanship Award is awarded to one student-athlete per team for each sport at each campus. This student-athlete demonstrates good sportsmanship in that he displays ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behavior while participating in athletic events and as a member of their team. This person exemplifies the Penn State values of integrity, responsibility, excellence, respect, discovery and community.