The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Knights remain undefeated

Gannon University women’s basketball coach Cleve Wright’s main message to his team is simple: be consistent.

Even after the Knights’ pair of wins at home Saturday and Sunday, he’s still hitting on that point.

“I know we can play better,” Wright said. “We just have to be more consistent. This means more consistent in effort, more consistent in holding onto the ball and striving toward taking that next step.”

The 10th-ranked Knights earned wins in the opening weekend of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play by battling past Kutztown and East Stroudsburg universities.

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But sophomore guard Brittany Batts said any talk of crowning this year’s team already would be premature.

“It’s still really early in the season, so we just have to keep working really hard in practice,” she said. “We’re not trying to look ahead; we’re just trying to prepare for the next game.”

Gannon ran its record to 6-1 overall and is tied for first place in the PSAC West with California and Indiana universities of Pennsylvania.

In Gannon’s 66-59 win over Kutztown Saturday, the Knights shot 29 percent and turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, but made enough plays in the second half after trailing at the half by a point.

The Knights used an 8-0 run at the beginning of the second half to pull away from the Bears, who couldn’t pressure Gannon like they had in the first half. Gannon went without a turnover for the first 16 minutes of the second half.

Jen Papich helped will the second-half charge by scoring 13 points after Gannon fell behind Kutztown by three. The junior forward finished with 17 Saturday and scored 25 Sunday, earning PSAC Western Division Women’s Player of the Week.

On Saturday, Gannon outrebounded Kutztown 55-38, including grabbing 22 boards on offense.

The Knights carried their momentum on the boards over to Sunday’s 78-68 win over to East Stroudsburg, when they hauled down another 14 offensive rebounds.

Wright said his team prides itself on its physical and mental toughness.

“I really think our team plays very strong,” he said. “The first thing that I notice when I watch this team is the effort and energy they bring.”

Gannon’s rebounding edge has been evident in almost every game thus far, as has the Knights’ ability to work with each other this season.

“I think the chemistry is pretty strong on this team,” said Batts, who leads the PSAC with 20 3-pointers and cracked the starting lineup over the weekend. “We can tell each other just about everything and in fact we’re almost like a family.”

Batts is averaging 11 points per game so far after scoring 5.7 per contest last year.

“It’s my teammates that have been able to get me open, whether it’s the other team double-teaming in the post, I’m seeing looks because of them,” she said.

Gannon’s lone defeat this season was to No. 1 Ashland University, whom the Knights fell to in the Disney Classic at the season’s start.

The Knights also defeated then-No. 8 UC-San Diego in the Classic, which provided the Knights with more than just an opportunity to work on their tans.

“I think the California trip was good for us,” Batts said. “Getting to play against some of the top teams and getting experience outside of the PSAC was big.”

Gannon’s No. 10 ranking in the latest USA Today Sports Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll represents the Knights’ highest ranking since the 2009-10 squad reached the Final Four.

Gannon’s next step will take them to Notre Dame College (Ohio) Wednesday. The Knights will return home Saturday to take on No. 14 IUP at 1 p.m. The undefeated Crimson Hawks defeated Gannon twice last season, including an overtime loss in the PSAC tournament at the Hammermill Center.

“I’m really just focusing on Notre Dame College right now,” Wright said. “I will say that we have had some great games with IUP and I think we have very similar teams. Most of their players from last year are back and I think they only have one senior, like we do.”

Gannon will play two PSAC games on the road against Millersville and Shippensburg universities before taking an NCAA-sanctioned break from Dec. 20 to 27.



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