KUTZTOWN | Riding a three-game home winning-streak, the Kutztown University women’s basketball team welcomes the Mercyhurst University Lakers and the Gannon University Golden Knights to Keystone Arena, this weekend, Dec. 2-3, to tip-off its Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) home schedule. Both games are set for 1 p.m.
KU (4-3, 0-2 PSAC) enters the weekend fresh off of a statement victory on Wednesday night, taking down the previously-undefeated Jefferson University Rams, 73-69. Freshman Rylee Derr continued the stellar start to her career as a Golden Bear, scoring a season-high 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc. Derr ranks first in the PSAC with 21 three-pointers made, averaging an even three triples made per contest.
As a team, the Maroon and Gold had 23 assists on the night, led by Taylor Thames, who dished out a career-high eight dimes, working the pick-and-roll game efficiently. Karen Lapkiewicz chipped in four
helpers of her own, adding nine points, eight rebounds and one steal in 29 minutes of well-rounded play.
On the inside, Gabbi Wright and Keifonna Ferguson were the main beneficiaries of the Golden Bears’ affinity for sharing the basketball, scoring 14 points each, many of which were from point-blank range. KU outscored Jefferson, 42-20, in the painted area and outrebounded the Rams, 40-32, with Ferguson leading the charge with nine rebounds, coming one board shy of a double-double.
Looking towards this weekend’s back-to-back versus the Lakers and the Golden Knights, Kutztown will have its hands full, facing two teams sporting unblemished 2-0 records in PSAC play. On Nov. 18-19, Gannon claimed home victories against West Chester (79-73) and Cheyney (79-70) while Mercyhurst secured home wins against Cheyney (87-53) and Millersville (65-61). Despite the 0-2 start, KU still sits fourth in the PSAC East Standings, as Bloomsburg, Millersville, Lock Haven, Cheyney and Shippensburg were also swept in the opening PSAC crossover weekend.
Saturday’s matchup pits KU against Mercyhurst for its PSAC home-opener. The Lakers’ offensive duo of Amber Renz and Maria Lapertosa has combined for 25 made three-pointers this season and averages of 19.4 ppg and 14.7 ppg, respectively. Renz also leads the team in rebounds, averaging 6.0 per game, and free throws made, going 30-of-34 from the charity stripe. One of the two has led the team in scoring in each of its first seven games, making this tandem crucial to key on for the Maroon and Gold defense.
The Golden Bears will then host Gannon on Sunday afternoon, in search of their first victory over the Golden Knights since the 1996-97 season, with Gannon having won seven straight meetings. Gannon is led by Maggie Mitchell, who contributes both in the scoring and facilitating departments, averaging team-highs with 16.9 ppg and 4.7 apg. Chelsea Rourke is the Golden Knights’ go-to player in the paint, leading the team with 5.4 rebounds per game and second on the team with 12.7 ppg. Gannon has allowed its opponents to shoot 35.9 percent from deep this season, giving a strong three-point shooting Kutztown team an opportunity for a competitive advantage in this tilt.
Live stats and video will be available for this weekend’s action via the links above, which can also be accessed on www.kubears.com.