Shepherd women vie with elite teams
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Sydney Clayton, Marley McLaughlin and Hannah Myers will see a continual line of quality PSAC teams when the Shepherd women join that league this winter.
And those three will need immediate help from a group of five freshmen and graduate student Anna Ross, who comes from West Virginia State.
The Rams were only 11-18 last year in the now-gone MEC. This will be Coach Jenna Eckelberry’s fifth season in Shepherdstown since arriving after a seven-year stint as an assistant at Fairmont.
Clayton missed games toward the close of the 2018-2019 season, but still averaged 17.1 points a game. McLaughlin scored 9.3 points a game and Myers — then a freshman — scored 5.8 points a year ago. Anna Ross started nine of West Virginia State’s 29 games a year ago and scored 5.6 points a night.
The five freshman this season are 5-foot-10 Naya Smith from Colgan, 5-foot-8 Jordan Smith from Colgan, 5-foot-9 Morgann Harden from Freedom High (Va.), 5-foot-4 Abby Beeman from Frankfort High and 5-11 Cara Minor, who lives in Hundred but played at North Marion.
In the East Division of the PSAC along with Shepherd are Kutztown (19-12 a year ago), Bloomsburg (20-10 overall), West Chester (which finished with a 16-14 mark), Lock Haven (with its 15-14 record), Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg, Mansfield and Millersville. All eight of the other East Division teams will be played on a home-and-home basis.
The elite teams in the PSAC last season were in the West Division where Indiana went 30-4, California was 26-6, Edinboro turned in a 20-9 record and Seton Hill was 19-10 overall. Shepherd plays those four West Division teams one time each.
Opening the season on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 in the Conference Challenge event at the Butcher Center, the Rams will face Fayetteville State and Virginia State of the CIAA.
Following those two season-opening games, Shepherd will play Lincoln (Nov. 14), Frostburg (Nov. 20) and Alderson-Broaddus (Dec. 2) before the first semester closes.
Each of the other eight East Division teams in the PSAC will be played twice, giving the Rams 16 of their 22 conference games this season.
Last season, the Rams weren’t able to find much quality depth, had continuous turnover problems, were usually outrebounded and never had consistent scoring from more than three players in any game.
The PSAC has its leading lights, and has for years. For Shepherd to make any indelible inroads, it will have to be much better than it was last season.