DeSales forward Abigail Rafferty and the Bulldogs have recently cracked the Top 10 in the national rankings. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
The area’s Division III women’s programs have been back in action in full force since the start of the new year, after many took time off for the Holiday break.
Here’s the latest edition of our area rankings, with a decent bit of movement amidst an eventful January:
Others Considered: Neumann (9-7, 2-1 Atlantic East), Muhlenberg (7-7, 6-3 Centennial), Bryn Athyn (7-7, 5-3 CSAC), Delaware Valley (8-8, 4-3 MAC Freedom), Moravian (8-7, 1-3 Landmark), Gwynedd (8-8, 1-2 Atlantic East)
10. Arcadia (LW: 4)
Record: 10-6, 4-4
Recent Results: at Misericordia (L, 56-53), vs. Wilkes (W, 71-60), vs. Stevens (L, 83-62), at DeSales (L, 81-37)
We’ll start with the bad news — Arcadia is these rankings’ biggest mover, in a negative direction, falling six spots from No. 4. After three weeks off to end December, the Knights opened 2023 with three losses in four contests. Now, the good news — two of the losses were against the clear-cut class of the MAC Freedom, DeSales and Stevens, both of which are nationally-ranked, and now out of the Knights’ way for the next three weeks. In Arcadia’s lone win on the new calendar year, over Wilkes, sophomore wing Mara Weaver had a season-high 23 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting.
Next Up: at Penn State Abington (Jan. 16), vs. Lycoming (Jan. 21), at FDU-Florham (Jan. 25), vs. Misericordia (Jan. 28)
9. Gettysburg (LW: OTC)
Record: 8-5, 5-3 Centennial
Recent Results: neutral vs. Concordia (W, 61-31), neutral vs. Misericordia (W, 50-44), vs. Haverford (L, 57-54), vs. Muhlenberg (W, 55-44), vs. Franklin & Marshall (W, 68-50), at Swarthmore (W, 58-46)
After losing three in a row in early December, Gettysburg seemed to have found itself on a trip to Puerto Rico; the Bullets won two games in the Caribbean, before returning home for three more in four tries, all in conference. Gettysburg’s only loss since leaving for Puerto Rico came at home to Haverford in overtime. Freshman guard Alayna Arnolie — the season’s second-leading scorer for Gettysburg — has been a multi-talented standout in the Bullets’ last three contests, averaging 9.3 points, 7.0 boards and 3.3 assists, including an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double against Muhlenberg. Sophomore guard Mackenzie Szlosek continues to lead the overall scoring effort with 12.2 ppg.
Next Up: at Dickinson (Jan. 18), vs. Washington (Jan. 21), at Ursinus (Jan. 24), vs. Bryn Mawr (Jan. 26), at Muhlenberg (Jan. 28)
8. Albright (LW: 9)
Record: 10-6, 4-3 MAC Commonwealth
Recent Results: at St. Mary’s (W, 75-49), vs. York (W, 70-57), at Stevenson (L, 64-51), vs. Eastern (W, 66-51), at King’s (W, 75-50)
Albright opened its season 2-3 and fell to 6-5 with a pair of mid-December losses, but the Lions have won four of five since and are fresh off of a pair of resounding conference wins. While graduate forward Gabby Boggs continues to be the Lions’ leading contributor with 15.0 ppg and 11.9 rpg on the season, sophomore guard Mackenzie Dover has made waves in recent weeks, scoring in double-figures in her last six outings and going for 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in a win over Eastern.
Next Up: at Widener (Jan. 18), at Hood (Jan. 21), vs. Lebanon Valley (Jan. 24), at Messiah (Jan. 28)
7. Alvernia (LW: NR)
Record: 11-6, 6-2 MAC Commonwealth
Recent Results: vs. Juniata (W, 80-58), vs. Eastern (W, 74-43), at Lebanon Valley (L, 74-64), at Messiah (L, 56-48), vs. Hood (W, 83-56)
A pair of road losses have marred an otherwise hot stretch for the Golden Wolves, who have won five of their last seven, but lost two of their last three. Avernia hung around with Messiah in the road, which was certainly a positive sign, and was followed by a quick-turnaround bounce-back blowout win over Hood, which featured a 23-point, seven-assist outing from junior guard Jordan Karmonick. Junior forward Kayla Williams (12.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg) has been as consistent as they come, tallying at least 10 points and five boards in each of the last seven games.
Next Up: vs. Stevenson (Jan. 21), at Widener (Jan. 25), vs. York (Jan. 28)
6. Dickinson (LW: 7)
Record: 10-4, 7-2 Centennial
Recent Results: neutral vs. Kean (W, 58-55), neutral vs. SUNY Cortland (L, 63-54), vs. Johns Hopkins (W, 62-40), at Washington College (W, 56-54), vs. Ursinus (W, 55-39), at Haverford (L, 52-50)
Dickinson had serious momentum building in the new year before a razor-thin conference road loss to Haverford. Otherwise, 2023 has been off to an enjoyable start for the Red Devils, who opened the new year by dominating Johns Hopkins behind 12 points from senior forward Kate Montgomery, who also logged 15 points and six boards in Dickinson’s win over Ursinus. Following its heartbreaker against Haverford, Dickinson will have a quick turnaround before facing another Top 10 area opponent in Gettysburg.
Next Up: vs. Gettysburg (Jan. 18), at Swarthmore (Jan. 21), vs. McDaniel (Jan. 26), at Ursinus (Jan. 28)
Haverford's Ally Landau had 21 points in a win over Dickinson. (Photo: Courtesy Haverford Athletics)
5. Haverford (LW: 5)
Record: 11-5, 8-3 Centennial
Recent Results: at Gettysburg (W, 57-54), at Johns Hopkins (L, 48-44), vs. McDaniel (W, 49-40), at Ursinus (L, 56-47), vs. Dickinson (W, 52-50)
The Fords’ close win over Dickinson is the main reason for their top-five position in these latest rankings; otherwise, the two have followed similar trajectories in the new year. Haveford has split its last four games, including a pair of road losses, but — in the bigger picture — has won 8 of 10 since the start of December, and owns road wins at a pair of area Top 10 teams, No. 7 Alvernia and No. 9 Gettysburg. Standout guard Ally Landau played a major role in the recent win over Dickinson, scoring 21 of the Fords’ 52 points; Landau has led the way this season with team-highs in points (15.8) and assists (3.2) to go with 6.5 rpg.
Next Up: vs. Muhlenberg (Jan. 18), at Franklin & Marshall (Jan. 21), at Washington College (Jan. 26), at McDaniel (Jan. 28)
4. Lancaster Bible (LW: 6)
Record: 9-3, 4-0 United East
Recent Results: at Salisbury (L, 72-56), vs. Penn State Berks (W, 75-46), at Penn State Abington (W, 64-60), at Gallaudet (W, 65-56)
A quick three-game win streak has Lancaster Bible positioned in the top four, up two spots from the most recent rankings. The Chargers took a road loss at Salisbury to open January, but have been unblemished since, winning all three recent contests in conference, with two of those victories coming on the road. Lancaster Bible has spent most of its young season on the road; the Charges have played just three home games in 12 total contests, winning all three; four of the next six are at home for Lancaster Bible. Sophomore Jade Eshelmann’s sensational season — the forward leads all Chargers with 15.2 ppg and 12.1 rpg — continued in a recent win over Penn State Abington; Eshelman pitched in nine points, 17 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Next Up: at Penn State Harrisburg (Jan. 17), SUNY Morrisville (Jan. 20), vs. Wells (Jan. 21), at St. Mary’s (Jan. 25), vs. Penn State Harrisburg (Jan. 28)
3. Messiah (LW: 3)
Record: 14-2, 7-0 MAC Commonwealth
Recent Results: vs. Penn State Harrisburg (W, 63-43), vs. Hood (W, 55-51), at Eastern (W, 61-42), Jan. 11 vs. Alvernia (W, 56-48), vs. Lebanon Valley (W, 69-47)
The area’s top three are continuing to separate themselves from the pack, mostly because they're basically not losing. Messiah is no exception; since starting the year 3-2, the Falcons have won 11 straight, including wins over No. 8 Albright, No. 9 Gettysburg, and most recently, No. 7 Alvernia. In recent weeks, Messiah has proven its ability to win close and going away, and has been getting major contributions from junior guard Reese Harden — Harden’s 13.0 ppg lead the way for Messiah — who pitched in 17 points, three boards and four assists in the Falcons’ recent win over Lebanon Valley. Messiah received 26 votes in d3hoops.com’s January 8 poll.
Next Up: at Stevenson (Jan. 18), vs. Widener (Jan. 21), at York (Jan. 25), vs. Albright (Jan. 28)
2. Elizabethtown (LW: 2)
Record: 13-1, 3-1 Landmark
Recent Results: vs. Muskingum (W, 64-50), at Stevenson (W, 86-62), vs. Moravian (W, 94-72), at Juniata (W, 78-51), at Scranton (L, 87-67)
Of the top three, Elizabethtown is the most recent to take a loss; the Blue Jays’ unbeaten streak came to an after 13 consecutive victories. Elizabethtown holds on to its second position for two reasons, though — its recent loss is its only loss, and it came on the road against an unbeaten Scranton team that ranks sixth in the nation per d3hoops.com. The Blue Jays, who received 18 votes in the most recent d3hoops.com poll, have otherwise been on a roll; their 13 wins prior to losing at Scranton all came by double digits, including a dominant win at Juniata in which sophomore guard Summer McNulty (17.6 ppg) dropped 23 points. McNulty has at least 20 points in five of Elizabethtown’s last six games.
Next Up: at Catholic (Jan. 18), vs. Goucher (Jan. 21), vs. Drew (Jan. 25), vs. Susquehanna (Jan. 28)
Record: 15-0, 7-0 MAC Freedom
Recent Results: at Cabrini (W, 68-50), neutral vs. Saint Joseph (W, 70-53), neutral vs. CCNY (W, 82-18), at Lycoming (W, 72-30), at Delaware Valley (W, 68-43), vs. Arcadia (W, 81-37)
The Bulldogs just keep winning; it’s really that simple. Now at 15-0 on the season, DeSales has picked up another six wins by a casual average of 30.3 points, is on the precipice of cracking 50 consecutive MAC Freedom victories, and has joined the nation’s Top 10 per d3hoops.com’s national rankings. As one would expect from such a dominant program, it’s been a unified effort from several contributors, as senior wing Megan Bealer (13.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg), junior forward Mikaela Reese (11.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and junior guard Lindsey Welsh (11.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg) all average at least 10 points and five boards. (Read more about Bealer and Reese here)
Next Up: at Stevens (Jan. 18), vs. FDU-Florham (Jan. 21), at King’s (Jan. 25), vs. Lycoming (Jan. 28)