Five Things to Know About the 2018 PAC Men’s Basketball Tournament

By Justin Zackal

The 2018 PAC Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament tips off with four quarterfinal games tonight at 7 p.m. with the four higher seeds hosting the four lower seeds, followed by the semifinals Thursday at 7 p.m. and the finals Saturday night at 7:30. The winner will receive the league’s automatic qualifying bid to this year’s NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

Here are five things to watch in the PAC tournament:

Damion King and the Thomas More Saints will try to make it two titles in a row in the PAC.

ONE MORE TIME. Defending champion Thomas More (20-5, 16-2 PAC) enters the PAC tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time since the Saints won their only other title in 2009. But this will be their last chance with the school leaving the conference after the academic year.

After chasing down Saint Vincent, which won the previous four PAC titles, Thomas More and its five returning starters would like to leave with two straight championships.

“We’re the hunted as opposed to the hunter,” said Thomas More head coach Drew Cooper. “Last year was all about dethroning Saint Vincent and now that we’ve done that it’s a different type of challenge. I wouldn’t point to our experience (as an advantage) because we’ve not had experience being the hunted and that is different for us.”

BALANCING ACT. Experience is actually an equalizer this year. Although Thomas More lost only two PAC games — at second-seeded Bethany (14-11, 14-4 PAC), 72-65 on Dec. 2, and at third-seeded Saint Vincent (16-9, 13-5 PAC), 65-50 on Feb. 14 — Cooper said the conference is equally matched. Sixth-seeded Geneva (11-14, 7-11 PAC) nearly won both of the games it lost to Thomas More (72-71, 86-80) and three of the league’s top four teams lost games to teams that don’t have winning PAC records.

The reason?

“The experience in the conference this year makes it certainly more balanced,” said Cooper, anecdotally naming seniors on each of the teams. “The four games Tuesday night, I anticipate four wars.”

To quantify the experience, four of the PAC’s top five scorers are seniors, which includes Calique Jones (18.6 ppg) and Tyriek Burton (16.1 ppg) of eighth-seeded Thiel (7-16, 5-13 PAC), Thomas More’s quarterfinal opponent. Overall, 11 of the league’s top 18 scorers are seniors.

ROAD TRIPPING. With a campus at least a four-hour drive from any other PAC school, Thomas More is undefeated in nine conference home games this year. But the three other quarterfinal hosts — Bethany, Saint Vincent and fourth-seeded Westminster (18-7, 12-6 PAC) — have home losses this year against teams seeded lower than them.

And here’s where Cooper hopes his team remembers what it’s like being the hunters.

“Home court is nice but hopefully if we learned anything from last year, we had to go on the road and win the thing, and we did that,” said Cooper, whose Saints won 79-68 at Saint Vincent in last year’s championship game. “That experience will hopefully help us prepare.”

Junior G Damion King, who scored a game-high 24 points in the finals last year, is Thomas More’s leading scorer this year with 15.2 ppg.

Cameron Kane-Johnson and the Westminster Titans could be primed and ready to make a run.

WHO’S HOT? Cooper seemed most weary of Westminster, the only PAC team that enters the tournament on a three-game winning streak, all against teams that qualified for the PAC tournament after the Titans lost at home to Thomas More, 76-60, on Feb. 7.

“If Westminster shows up and has a great shooting night, they are going to be conference champions,” said Cooper, naming outside shooters like Cameron Kane-Johnson (17.3 ppg, PAC-best 2.8 3-pointers per game) and the inside presence of Deontay Scott (11.5 ppg, PAC-best 8.2 rpg). “Their scoring punch is probably the best in the conference.”

The Titans host fifth-seeded Grove City (16-9, 9-9 PAC), which beat Bethany, 66-57, Saturday, but lost at Westminster in overtime, 76-65, in the teams’ last meeting. Seventh-seeded Waynesburg (10-15, 6-12 PAC) has won three of its last five including home victories over Westminster and Geneva.

EXPECT AN UPSET. Westminster was the only quarterfinalist to be upset at home in the first round last year, losing a 4-versus-5-seed matchup against Bethany, but two years ago the Titans advanced to the semifinals as a seventh seed. Cooper won’t be surprised if a lower-seeded team can make a run, but he would if one of them goes all the way.

“Five, six, seven and eight are as dangerous as they’ve ever been,” Cooper said. “I don’t know if any of them can win three games, but they sure as heck can win one or two. And one, two, three and four on any night can (beat each other).”

Although there will likely be an upset, it won’t occur because a team is overlooked.

“Each team has a handle on what to expect from the team they are going to be playing,” Cooper added. “It’s just a matter of who is going to show up for each team.”


Five Things to Know About the 2018 PAC Women’s Basketball Tournament

By Justin Zackal

The PAC women’s basketball championship tournament takes place Feb. 19-24, with first round and quarterfinal games hosted by the higher seeded teams Monday and Wednesday and the semifinals and finals at Thomas More Friday and Saturday. Here are five things you need to know:

Abby Owings and the Thomas More Saints have their sights set on an 11th PAC title.

THOMAS MORE’S LAST HURRAH. No team other than top-seeded Thomas More (24-1, 18-0 PAC) has won the PAC since 2006, but that will change next year with the Saints leaving the conference at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season. Ranked fourth in the nation, Thomas More may not be as great as the team that won the national championship in 2016, but the rest of the PAC is still no match for the Saints, which outscored PAC teams by an average of 90.9-47.4 this year, including scores of 73-57 and 92-42 against second-seeded Washington & Jefferson (21-4, 15-3 PAC).

“One change is they are not playing as fast and pressing as much,” said Jina DeRubbo, W&J’s 14th-year head coach. “They are winning as many games as they did, but they are not winning games by simply turning people over in a pressing situation. The biggest thing about Thomas More is they never get rattled. They don’t have those moments in games when they fall apart for four minutes.”

PLAYER TO WATCH. Junior G Madison Temple is the only player to rank in the top six in PAC in scoring (17.1 ppg, 5th), rebounding (7.0 rpg, 6th) and assists (5.4 apg, 1st), but the best player in the league is her teammate in the backcourt, senior G Abby Owings, an All-American and the reigning PAC Player of the Year. Owings ranks seventh in the PAC in scoring (14.6 ppg) and fourth in assists (3.0 apg), but her teams “goes as a she goes,” according to DeRubbo, who said she is “nearly impossible to contain.”

“(Owings) keeps her team in control,” DeRubbo said. “She’s a big-time player and shows up in big games and she never gets rattled.”

THE OTHER DOUBLE-BYE TEAM. Both Thomas More and W&J have two byes and they will play separate remaining teams in Friday night’s semifinals. The Presidents, ranked ninth in the Great Lakes Region, have clinched their fifth 20-win season the last six years, led by senior G Amirah Moore (14.3 ppg, 3.6 apg), who often guards the opposing team’s best player.

“This year it hasn’t been a struggle to get to 20 wins because we’ve had different kids step up at different points during the year and we’ve had a good, balanced attack,” said DeRubbo, referencing the balance of older and younger players, including freshman F Alie Seto (6.8 ppg) who has come on strong at the end of the season, averaging 11.0 points in the last six games.

GAME TO WATCH. Should third-seeded Saint Vincent (17-8, 14-4 PAC) win its quarterfinal game Wednesday — against the winner of Monday’s No. 6-seeded Bethany (11-14, 8-10 PAC) at seventh-seeded Geneva (8-17, 5-13 PAC) first round game — the Bearcats will play W&J in Friday’s semifinal. W&J and Saint Vincent split the season series with W&J winning 70-56 at home Nov. 29 and losing on the road, 69-58, Jan. 24.

“Those were the exact same game but for the opposite team,” DeRubb said. “We came out the first time and exploded offensively and dominated from start to finish. They did exactly the same thing to us the second game and hit every shot. (Saint Vincent is) playing very well right now and playing better and better as the season goes on. I think it would be a really close game (if we play). Who knows which way it will go.”

UNSUNG TEAM. Fourth-seeded Grove City (17-8, 12-6 PAC) would have to play Thomas More in the semifinal if the Wolverines win their quarterfinal game Wednesday against the winner of Monday’s eighth-seeded Westminster (7-18, 3-15 PAC) at fifth-seeded Waynesburg (14-11, 10-8 PAC) first-round game. Although the Wolverines are not a lower seed and an upset of Thomas Moore is unlikely, DeRubbo considers Grove City a team that’s as dangerous as Saint Vincent (Grove City beat Saint Vincent, 60-49, Jan. 6, before losing to the Bearcats, 70-67, Feb. 3).

“(Grove City) just plays really hard and they are very disciplined,” said DeRubbo, in addition to the Wolverines having sophomore G Lexie Arkwright (18.2 ppg). “Whether you are up by 20 or down by 20, Grove City kids always play the same. They play up-tempo, they get in your face, they turn the ball over defensively and they press for 40 minutes, so you can’t let your guard down. They are a team that never quits.”


W&J’s Charlie West, a Pioneer for Black Athletes, is Inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame

By Justin Zackal

Photo of Dr. Charles “Pruner” West courtesy of W&J College.

The late Dr. Charles “Pruner” West is often recognized for his role in a football game that ended with a score of 0-0. But he was most grateful for a “game” that was recorded as a 1-0 win

West, who will be honored prior to the fourth quarter of Monday’s Rose Bowl for his induction in the game’s Hall of Fame, was the first African-American quarterback to play in college football’s oldest bowl game. West lined up under center for Washington & Jefferson in its scoreless draw against the University of California, Jan. 1, 1922, in Pasadena, California. (Watch video of the 1922 Rose Bowl courtesy of the U. Grant Miller Library below this article).

A halfback who had to play quarterback because of injuries, West and his teammates played both offense and defense (the smallest school ever to play in the game could only afford to travel 11 players). The Presidents were part of many stands against Cal, limiting the Golden Bears to 49 yards, all rushing yards, but there was a more compelling stand that W&J took two seasons later.

W&J, coached by John Heisman (yes, that Heisman), hosted Washington & Lee in 1923 but the Generals refused to play against teams with African-American players. They asked W&J to sit West for the game, but W&J Athletic Director Bob “Mother” Murphy, a man who remortgaged his house to pay for his trip to California for the Rose Bowl two years earlier, left it up to West whether his team should accept the opponent’s demands. West said that he can’t stop them from playing, but he’d never play for W&J again if his team chose to play.

The Presidents didn’t play and the Generals forfeited the game, resulting in a 1-0 W&J win, and Murphy paid W&L a portion of its share of expected gate receipts.

“My father was always just grateful, so grateful, for the stand Mr. Murphy took against Washington & Lee,” Linda West Nickens, West’s daughter, told W&J Magazine.

Nickens and West’s grandson, Michael Nickens, accepted a trophy to commemorate West’s upcoming forthcoming honor at a W&J game in November. Tournament of Roses executives Brad Ratliff and Leo Cablayan spoke at the ceremony, along with W&J president John C. Knapp.

“Charlie West represented our athletic program exceedingly well,” Knapp said at the ceremony. “He was exemplary of this college’s longstanding commitment to being an inclusive place where regardless of one’s background or race or difference, there’s an opportunity to be fully included in this community and be part of the success of what makes W&J, W&J.”

The Rose Bowl’s theme this year is “Making a Difference,” which is befitting for West, who went on to maintain a general medical practice for 50 years in Alexandria, Virginia, to be inducted in this year’s class that also includes former Texas head coach Mack Brown, UCLA quarterback Cade McNown and Michigan’s Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.

“Washington & Jefferson gave Charles West that chance to make a difference,” Ratliff said at the ceremony. “(With this recognition, we) can tell others about the value of men like Dr. West and the lessons he learned on the field and the value and the commitment he had to make a difference in the lives of countless others. The school accepted Charles West and because of the actions of a forward-thinking college, thousands of people benefitted from the success of an African-American man.”

The 1922 W&J Football Team courtesy of W&J College.

Linda West Nickens also shared stories about her father, including how his W&J teammates sat with him in the “colored only” train car during their cross-country trip to the 1922 Rose Bowl; and how he qualified for the 1924 Olympics in the pentathlon and made the trip to Paris, but he had a hamstring injury that put his participation into question, and despite quickly recovering, French officials refused to let him re-register.

“Charlie West’s journey was not easy, not just for this trip to the Rose Bowl, but his journey into manhood and all through life,” his daughter said at W&J’s ceremony. “One of the great lessons he taught me, mostly by example, was how to handle the inevitable disappointments that we all face with grace and dignity.”

West grew up on a farm in Washington County and his father opened a drug store, which led to West’s nickname, “Pruner,” a mispronunciation of “Peruna” cough syrup sold there. After earning his degree from W&J in 1924, West had an offer to play professional football with the Akron Pros, but he chose to attend Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C.

West received the W&J Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1978 and he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1979. He died later that year on Nov. 20, 1979.

“Charlie didn’t set out to break down racial barriers,” his daughter added. “He just wanted to play football and run track, both of which he’d done from childhood. But he did, in fact, become a pioneer. Thinking of his own role in integrating athletics in American schools, he said, I’m very proud to have played a part in shaping the destiny of the black athlete in this country.”

1922 Rose Bowl Game from U. Grant Miller Library on Vimeo.


Ron Galbreath’s Love of his Players and Basketball Spanned Decades and Rival Schools

By Justin Zackal

Photo of Ron Galbreath courtesy of Westminster College.

Even after he surpassed his 50th year and his youth basketball camp was approaching its 30th summer, Ron Galbreath began his camps with the same demonstration: he drained 15-foot jump shots while addressing a backcourt of cross-legged hoop dreamers who sat up higher and whose eyes grew wider with each consecutive made basket. An entire week’s itinerary could be covered before a shot, retrieved by a camp counselor, would hit anything but the net.

This was the way Galbreath lived his life, not as a show-off, but rather showing examples of consistency and grace in his words and actions through the rhythms of basketball — the drills, the practices, the games, the weeklong camps, the ups and downs of full seasons. Galbreath was steady, true and with his enthusiasm any miss meant that the next made shot was the start of another streak.

But after 77 years of his life, more than half of which as a head coach at three colleges, Galbreath’s impeccable run came to an end. On Dec. 9, 2017, Dr. Ronald Galbreath passed away.

“Everyone around here took advantage of (his presence) because they knew Coach loved being around them and he was willing to offer his knowledge,” said Van Zanic, athletic director at Geneva College where Galbreath started and finished his coaching career. “It wasn’t just X’s and O’s, it was how to manage people and how to treat people the right way. That’s going to be his lasting legacy.”

Galbreath was remembered at a Celebration of Life service at Geneva College’s Metheny Fieldhouse, Dec. 16, a week following his death and 10 days after he suffered a stroke. Even after he hung up his whistle as Geneva’s women’s basketball coach in 2009, Galbreath attended athletic events at Geneva and made frequent visits to coaches’ offices.

“He just loved being with people and loved being around the athletes,” said Zanic.

Galbreath starting his coaching career as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Geneva, before he was hired as the head coach at his alma mater, Westminster College, in 1968, and a year later as Clarion University’s head coach for five years. He returned to New Wilmington in 1974 and coached the Titans to a 448-206 record over 25 seasons at Westminster, including 18 postseason appearances, six district titles and three trips to the NAIA national tournament in 1982, 1994 and 1996.

NAIA All-America Ron Galbreath with Westminster coach C.G. “Buzz” Ridl in 1962.

As a player, Galbreath was a two-time All-American at Westminster in 1961 and 1962 while playing for another coaching legend, C.G. “Buzz” Ridl, also known as a gentleman of the gym who preached the fundamentals. Galbreath succeeded him when Ridl left Westminster to become the head coach at Pitt in 1968.

Considered by many at Westminster to be on the Mount Rushmore of coaches at a school that won six national championships in football, Galbreath was known for how he developed his players, not just for the winning results.

“He cared about you more as a person than as a player,” said Westminster Athletic Director Jim Dafler, who was hired by Galbreath as an assistant coach in 1989 and who eventually succeeded Galbreath as head coach in 1998. “He was really concerned about his players. He taught them a lot more than just basketball.”

Galbreath would often read inspirational quotes to campers and his players, and as a devout Christian he would facilitate morning devotionals or take his teams to Sunday morning worship while on road trips.

Dafler marveled at Galbreath’s enthusiasm and positivity, recalling how he would often give out candy root beer barrels or other tokens when a camper or even one of his college players did a nice job, which may seem hokey now, but even to a 20-year-old collegian that meant something coming from Galbreath. But that didn’t mean Galbreath wasn’t a fierce competitor.

“He smiled and he was a good guy, (he was) very humble in victory and humble in defeat, but he wanted to win,” Dafler said. “With his competitiveness there were times when he just willed his team to win. We’d have a timeout at the end of a game sometimes and his coaching was not X’s and O’s, it was, ‘Let’s win it, let’s win it!,’ ‘Who’s going to win it for me?,’ ‘Who’s going to get the rebound?,’ ‘Who’s going to make the shot?’ He was just very competitive from that standpoint but very gracious if it didn’t go his way.”

Galbreath stepped down as Westminster’s men’s basketball coach in 1998 when the school decided to leave the dwindling NAIA for financial reasons and compete in NCAA Division II. Galbreath was not in favor of the move and, with his motion sickness, he also had an aversion to long bus rides, which Westminster would encounter by playing many of its conference games in Michigan.

He remained on Westminster’s staff as cross country coach but continued his popular basketball camps at Geneva, as not to interfere with the progression of other Westminster camps under the direction of new men’s and women’s coaches.

Photo of Ron Galbreath courtesy of Geneva College.

Galbreath recognized the importance of Westminster’s rivalry with Geneva but he never perpetuated it with hatred. After all, his wife, Patricia, and two brothers were Geneva alumni. Even as the enemy, he was still respected by opposing teams, players and fans, and Geneva was no different. But still, it raised some eyebrows when Galbreath was hired as Geneva’s women’s basketball coach in 2002.

“I remember writing that press release and there was a lot of scuttlebutt about that,” said Zanic, Geneva’s softball coach who was also the sports information director before becoming athletic director. “I associated it today if (Duke) Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski were to coach the North Carolina women. In our little world, that’s parallel to it. It didn’t take long before he was a Geneva guy. But even to his last days, he was Westminster and Geneva.”

“He was always complimentary of what he’d been able to do at Westminster and he couldn’t be more gracious about that,” Dafler said. “He was very loyal to Westminster; this was his alma mater. Now, he had this relationship with Geneva. That bothered some people because of the rivalry and he was such a big part of the success that Westminster teams had. He played here and coached here, but he loved basketball and coaching basketball.”

Geneva also eventually left the NAIA and Westminster left NCAA Division II. Both schools were reunited as conference rivals in NCAA Division III’s Presidents’ Athletic Conference, meaning Galbreath returned to Westminster as an opposing coach.

“It was always odd seeing him sitting on the other bench,” Dafler said. “But he said, ‘At the end of the day, it’s still basketball. I love basketball, I love coaching it and I love teaching it, and I love my players.’”

Galbreath compiled a record of 111-48 in six seasons at Geneva, including the team’s first trip to the NAIA national tournament in 2007, before he stepped down in 2009 for health reasons. All told, he amassed a coaching record of 634-192 (.798).

In one of his final visits to Westminster, Galbreath was interviewed at halftime of the Westminster-Geneva football game last season by the Beaver Falls radio station that covers Geneva. He wouldn’t budge either way when asked about his rooting interest that day; he was there to support both schools. At his memorial service, a story was shared about how Galbreath had a blue jacket with GENEVA on it and he was the only person who could pull that off.

“He never had a bad word about anybody,” Zanic added. “There’s not a fake bone in his body. He’s just a genuine guy. That, to me, is the most important thing.”

Like his jump shot, Galbreath was down middle and well-adjusted. And by living a long life, he had the range to go with it. But when you’re in the presence of a pure, graceful shooter, you want to sit up and see how long and how far he could go. In life, Ron Galbreath never seemed to miss, but in death he will be missed.


PAC Women’s Basketball 2017-18 Preview: Talent Abounds Even Beyond Thomas More’s Dominance

By Justin Zackal

PAC Player of the Year, Abby Owings, and the Thomas More Saints hope to continue their run of dominance in the PAC.

It’s easy to overlook Presidents’ Athletic Conference women’s basketball when no team has looked down on Thomas More from the league standings since 2006. Because of the Saints’ dominance, especially from their top two or three players, other players on their roster and the top players on teams throughout the league can be taken for granted.

Just ask someone who viewed the league with a fresh set of eyes last year.

“In the PAC, some of the players are underappreciated,” said second-year Bethany head coach Brian Sansom. “Not so much from our local area, but outside we’ve got some good kids in this conference that may not get to be seen on the national spotlight. Each team has somebody who is capable of any night of being the best player in the conference.”

Sansom’s evaluation of the PAC entering the 2017-18 season is not much different from what everyone else in the league knows: “Thomas More’s entire roster is going to a ‘Player to Watch,’” he quipped. But while he thinks Saint Vincent, Washington & Jefferson and Waynesburg are going to be back up there in the top four, Sansom sees growth from the bottom six teams, including his own.

“We’ve got some really good coaches and teams who aren’t typically in the top four who are building their programs up,” Sansom said. “Yeah, I’ve only been here one year, but I can see the improvement (in the league).”

Here’s a preview of each team in order of predicted finish in the preseason coaches’ poll with last year’s overall record and PAC record in parentheses:

THOMAS MORE (28-1, 18-0)
The Saints haven’t lost to a PAC team since 2012 or in a PAC tournament game since 2006 and they outscored conference teams by an average of 92.4 to 50 last year. Expect more of the same this year as senior guard Abby Owings (16.0 ppg), the reigning PAC Player of the Year, is back, alng with two returning first-team all-PAC selections: senior forward Nikki Kiernan (14.7 ppg) and junior guard Madison Temple (15.8 ppg).

Senior guard Amirah Moore (14.0 ppg) and junior forward Danielle Parker (14.5 ppg) are back after they both were named second-team all-PAC last year. The Presidents have won at least 13 PAC games in each of the last five years. W&J has gone 126-54 (.700) in PAC games since it last won the league in 2006.

SAINT VINCENT (18-10, 13-5)
The Bearcats lost to Thomas More in the PAC championship game in 2011, 2012, 2015 and with last year’s 66-53 loss. They don’t return any all-PAC players, although guard Mara Benvenuti (11.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg) was an honorable mention. Benvenuti didn’t make it through the fall semester before her senior year was shortened by injury. She’s back for another year of eligibility as a graduate student.

WAYNESBURG (19-12, 11-7)
Other than Thomas More, Waynesburg is the only PAC team to post winning conference records in each of the last seven seasons. A big reason for their success in the last three years has been senior forward Addy Knetzer (16.2 ppg, 11.4 rpg), who led the PAC in rebounding and ranked fourth in scoring last year to earn first-team all-PAC honors.

GROVE CITY (14-13, 10-8)
The Wolverines have posted winning PAC records in three straight years after going 13 years without back-to-back winning conference seasons. Senior guard Lexie Arkwright (20.8 ppg), a first-team all-PAC selection last year, was the league’s leading scorer. “She just has a way about her game that is tough to defend,” said Sansom, whose Bethany team surrendered 26 and 35 points by Arkwright in two meetings.

BETHANY (12-14, 10-8)
Senior forward Kelsea Daugherty (18.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg) ranked second in the PAC in both scoring and rebounding to earn second-team all-PAC honors last year. Considered by Sansom to be scrappy, yet crafty, especially when it comes to reading defenses, Daugherty will be heavily relied on with Hayley Holenka (17.3 ppg) graduating and junior Ashley Duthie (7.0 ppg) sliding from point guard to the two-guard. Although a freshman will be handling the point, Daugherty and junior guard Sammie Weiss (16.4 ppg), a midseason transfer from California (Pa.) last year, will take some of the scoring burden from the younger players, which includes 13 freshmen in all.

WESTMINSTER (11-16, 5-13)
Of the teams in the bottom half of the conference, Sansom considers Westminster to be the most dangerous. “Westminster might shock some people because they were so young last year” he said. “Don’t be surprised if you see them sneaking up around four or five this year.” The Titans return four starters, including last year’s PAC Freshman of the Year, sophomore forward Emily Fromknecht (11.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), but that doesn’t include senior forward Kristine Fromknecht, Emily’s older sister who was the team’s leading scorer two years ago but missed half of last season with an injury.

CHATHAM (13-13, 7-11)
Chatham’s 13 overall wins last year were the most in program history and the Cougars qualified for the last two PAC tournaments, capturing a first round win in each of those trips to the postseason. Junior guard Katie Sieg (15.9 ppg) ranked sixth in the league in scoring last year and she was named second team all-PAC.

THIEL (5-20, 2-16)
The Tomcats won a combined 19 games the last four seasons, but the Tomcats return four starters including their top scorers: junior guard Jess Vormelker (14.9 ppg) and senior forward Taylor Duchon (13.6 ppg).

GENEVA (4-21, 1-17)
Geneva returns three starters but the focus last year and this offseason was on someone else who is returning and what horrible thing is now gone. Sixth-year head coach Lori Wynn, who was away from the team last year after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June 2016, is back with a clean bill of health. Doctors detected no evidence of cancer in January and again in July, according to the Beaver County Times. The Golden Tornadoes hope that battle won will foreshadow more victories ahead.