Hicks
Hicks

The 2012-2013 York College women's basketball team is garnering national attention.

The Spartans will enter the upcoming season ranked in both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and d3hoops.com preseason polls.

York is ranked 19th in the WBCA poll and 18th in the d3hoops.com poll.

The Spartans went 24-6 last year and advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16. York finished second in the Capital Athletic Conference during the regular season and advanced to the championship game, where they fell 50-46 to regular-season champion Mary Washington.

York is coming off the first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in school history. The Spartans have made three of the last four NCAA Tournaments.

Spartan head coach Betsy Witman welcomes back four starters, including All-CAC selections Brittany Hicks, Kristen Haley and Aja Wallpher. Junior Kelsey Murphy is the Spartans' other two-year returning starter.

Hicks, a York Catholic High School graduate, is York's top returning scorer and rebounder. She averaged 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last year. She shot 45.8 percent from the floor and 79.2 percent from the free throw line.

Haley averaged 13.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last year. She also shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the stripe.

Wallpher led the nation in assists, handing out 7.3 per game. Wallpher also averaged 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Wallpher recorded a team-high 98 steals.

Murphy returns as York's top 3-point shooter. She averaged 7.8 points per game. Murphy converted a team-high 53 threes during the year and shot 35.3 percent from beyond the arc. Murphy also made 86.5 percent of her attempts from the line.

Witman must replace all-regional guard April Sparkman in the starting lineup, but she's confident that she'll find a capable replacement.

Witman is happy with the preseason recognition, but she believes the polls don't carry very much weight early on in the season.

"It's nice to get recognized but it really doesn't matter that much to us. We have to get better each and every day to be the best team we can be," she said. "I would much rather be high in the rankings at the end of the season when people can judge our body of work. I am excited for the season to get started but we have a number of things we need to get better at before the season begins."

The Spartans open the season on Thursday, Nov. 15, when they play host to Johns Hopkins University. The Spartans open conference play on Dec. 1 at St. Mary's College.