BY CORY NIDOH
SC Staff Writer
Laces are being tied and players are hitting the hardwood as the basketball season is upon us.
Buzzer beater shots, highlight reel-worthy slam dunks and packed courts are some of the great sights fans get to see over the long cold winter.
The ESU Women’s basketball team got their season underway this past Saturday against Holy Family.
Coming into their season opener, the Warriors were the underdogs against the 11th ranked Tigers.
This is the second consecutive year that the Warriors faced Holy Family and they were looking to avenge their 53-47 loss they suffered last year in Philadelphia.
The Warriors kept it close but were not able to prevail as they fell 66-57. Leading the way for the Warriors was junior forward Jessica Martin who had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks while freshman forward Allison Howard had a double-double scoring 12 points while bringing down 13 rebounds in her Warriors debut.
With Martin and Howard having a double-double, they became the third set of ESU teammates in the last 11 years with double-doubles in the same game.
Melisaa Poderis was ESU’s third-highest scorer with seven points coming off the bench and Ryann Fiascki had six points and five rebounds.
Helena Gemmell the Warriors defensive whiz, who averaged almost three steals per game last year, had six of them in 17 minutes.
ESU fans can expect to see a lot of production from Martin, a two-time All-PSAC East second team selection and Howard, a native from Aurora, Ohio as they will look to be the catalysts in turning it around after making it in the PSAC Tournament despite having a 7-20 record a year ago.
Martin’s play over the last two season has not gone unnoticed.
“Jess made a statement within the PSAC that she is legit,” said head coach Maureen Smith.
“She is going to do what she does; we know what we are going to get out of her. The biggest thing is complementing her skills and having other players step up and get the same accolades and that will solidify us as being one of the top teams in the conference.”
Howard will be having a significant role on the team.
“She has the ability to really make her presence known in the PSAC,” Smith said when speaking about the recruit coming out of Ohio.
Along with Martin and Howard, other players will be looked upon to contribute such as Fiascki, Tyeca Reviere, Gemmel, Andrea Veres and Michelle Boggs.
The Warriors, who were ranked 6 in the preseason polls for the PSAC, are looking to return to the PSAC Tournament but not by limping in, rather wanting to earn a bye and being one of the top seeded teams.
The PSAC is the biggest basketball conference in the country with 18 teams and one of the most competitive.
The Warriors are 23-56 going into the season under Smtih and had a 6-win improvement from 2010-11 to 2011-12.
The Warriors open up their PSAC schedule with games against Mansfield and Kutztown and then will play in the 49th Annual Pocono Classic starting on November 30 to December 1.
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