After posting a strong 2015-16 season, the York College women's basketball team will look to build off of last year's success and enjoy an even better 2016-17 campaign.
The Spartans went 20-7 a season ago and just missed out on earning an NCAA Division III Tournament berth. Now, 13 members of last year's team are back and ready to take the next step.
The team has seven York County products on the team.
Head coach Betsy Witman's lineup will be anchored by her four seniors — forwards Sam Hruz and Morgan Golec and guards Brianna Bisci and West York graduate Sarah Sherer. As a group, they've won 58 games in their time with York.
This is Witman's 21st season with the program. The former Hanover High School standout has compiled a career mark of 342-200 and a Capital Athletic Conference mark of 158-86.
"This senior class is determined to lead this team to a championship," Witman said in a school news release. "They are motivated to go out on top. It won't be easy, but they are committed to leading and to driving their teammates to greatness. We will need our seniors to play great throughout the year and I believe they will be up to the challenge."
Seniors: Of the talented players coming back this season, Hruz is the only one that earned All-CAC honors a year ago, making the first team. The 6-foot, 1-inch post player averaged 10.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. She started in all 27 games and made a team-high 19 3-pointers. She also finished with eight double-doubles. Hruz enters the year five blocks short of the Spartans' all-time school record.
The 5-foot, 7-inch Bisci will try to stay healthy for her senior season after she missed seven games during her junior year. Going into the year, Bisci is expected to be the team's starting point guard and is coming off a season in which she averaged 1.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
At 5-8, Shearer started in 22 of the Spartans' games as a junior and played in all 27. She averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest and collected 35 steals.
The 5-foot, 10-inch Golec came off the bench as a junior, with her 6.4 points and 4.7 assists per game adding a spark to the York rotation.
Other York County products: Other York County grads returning for York will be juniors Morgan Kuehne and Katie Wagner and sophomores Katie McGowan, Debria Hendricks and Logynn Fuller.
Kuehne, a 5-foot, 10-inch Red Lion grad, led the team with 10.8 points per game as a sophomore. She had a career-high 29 points in an overtime win over Salisbury.
Susquehannock grad Wagner started in all 27 games for the Spartans, averaging more than nine points per game. The 5-foot, 7-inch junior shot 37.5 percent on 3-pointers and came up with 30 steals as a sophomore.
"Morgan and Katie return as starters and I expect them both to have great years," Witman said in the news release.
McGowan, who graduated from Dallastown in 2015, saw action in 23 games and averaged 3.0 points per game. She's expected to see more minutes playing in the post as a sophomore. Hendricks will serve as York's backup point guard after appearing in 20 games as a freshman. She saw about eight minutes per game a year ago. Fuller is hoping to see an increased role from last season, when she only appeared in 11 contests.
The only incoming freshman on the team is York Suburban grad Molly Day. However, according to the team website, Day underwent preseason surgery and will redshirt her freshman season. During her time with the Trojans, she was a York-Adams League second-team all-star selection as a senior and was named the Suburban Holiday Tournament MVP last year.
After going 13-5 a year ago in CAC play, the Spartans were tied for third in the 2016-17 CAC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released last week. Defending champion Mary Washington edged Christopher Newport to take the top spot in the poll. Marymount and York were tied for third,
Season starts Tuesday: The Spartans will begin their season on Tuesday when they travel to McDaniel College at 6 p.m. York's home debut will come this weekend, when it hosts the 10th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Spartans will face Pitt-Greensburg in the opener.
"I am excited to see us play some games and see how much we have progressed from last year," Witman said in the news release. "Our non-conference schedule will provide good tests for us and ready us for conference play. Our opening schedule should give us a good idea of where we're at and what we will need to clean up before we open our CAC schedule."
Some information for this story was provided by York College.