By Jeff Griffith (@hooplove215)
As the calendar shifts into February, there’s a good bit of movement in our biweekly Division III Women’s Basketball area rankings, as the top three — which stands essentially as “1A,” “1B” and “1C” — continues to separate itself from the pack.
Here are the latest rankings:
Previous Rankings: Preseason | Nov. 29 | Dec. 12 | Jan. 18
Others to Watch
Lancaster Bible (11-6, 6-3 United East), Gwynedd Mercy (11-9, 4-3 Atlantic East), Bryn Athyn (9-8, 7-4 CSAC), Neumann (10-9, 3-3 Atlantic East), Moravian (10-9, 3-5 Landmark)
PSU Harrisburg's Giahny Correa is one of three double-figure scorers. (Photo: Courtesy PSU-Harrisburg)
10. Penn State Harrisburg (LW: NR)
Record: 11-7, 8-1 United East
Recent Results: vs. Lancaster Bible (W, 62-48), vs. Wells (W, 70-14), vs. SUNY Morrisville (W, 88-65), at Penn State Berks (W, 73-40), at Lancaster Bible (L, 67-63)
It was a very close call for the last spot between Penn State Harrisburg and Lancaster Bible — which has lost three of its last five by double digits since jumping to No. 4 in our most recent rankings — but recent head-to-head results and the Lions’ first-place conference standing ultimately made the difference. After starting 4-6, Penn State Harrisburg won eight in a row — including a 14-point home win over Lancaster Bible — before taking a close Jan. 28 loss to the Chargers which marked the Lions’ first and only conference defeat. PSU Harrisburg’s scoring output has been noticeably balanced, with its top three scorers averaging 10.3 (senior guard Jayla Galbreath), 10.8 (senior guard Kendis Butler) and 10.9 (sophomore guard Giahny Correa) ppg apiece.
Next Up: at SUNY Morrisville (Feb. 3), at Wells (Feb. 4), at Penn College (Feb. 8), vs. St. Mary’s (Feb. 11)
9. Arcadia (LW: 10)
Record: 13-7, 6-5 MAC Freedom
Recent Results: vs. Lycoming (W, 63-54), at FDU-Florham (W, 63-28), vs. Misericordia (L, 49-41)
After a brief losing spell pushed Arcadia down to No. 10 from No. 4 in the last rankings, the Knights somewhat steadied the ship, taking two out of three in one of the area’s less busy two-week periods. After dropping three of four in early January, the Knights picked up steam on a three-game winning streak before falling at home to a strong Misericordia team. Arcadia will be tested as the calendar turns to February, with three of their next four on the road including trips to the MAC Freedom’s top stalwarts, Stevens and De Sales.
Next Up: vs. St. Mary’s (Jan. 31), at Wells (Feb. 3), at SUNY Morrisvile (Feb. 4), at Penn State Abington (Feb. 8), vs. Gallaudet (Feb. 11)
8. Dickinson (LW: 6)
Record: 12-6, 9-4 Centennial
Recent Results: vs. Gettysburg (L, 60-57), at Swarthmore (L, 62-56), vs. McDaniel (W, 61-47), at Ursinus (W, 70-36)
With a split in its last four games, Dickinson drops two spots in this week’s rankings. Both losses certainly err on the side of respectable, though, with both coming by six points or less — one against area No. 6 Gettysburg and the other on the road against a decent Swarthmore squad.
Whatever disappointment the back-to-back close losses may have brought, the Red Devils certainly took it out on Ursinus, notching a 34-point road win over the Bears in their final game of January; senior guard Mia Kolb led the way in the dominant victory with 19 points.
Next Up: vs. Muhlenberg (Feb. 1), vs. Washington College (Feb. 4), vs. Bryn Mawr (Feb. 7), at Muhlenberg (Feb. 9), at Johns Hopkins (Feb. 11)
7. Alvernia (LW: 7)
Record: 13-7, 8-3 MAC Commonwealth
Recent Results: vs. Stevenson (W, 73-46), at Widener (L, 65-56), vs. York (W, 73-61)
A stretch of nine wins in 10 tries over the course of November and December moved Alvernia into the rankings conversation; since then, the Red Wolves have generally leveled off, splitting their last six contests. Alvernia went on the road and lost to a sub-.500 Widener squad, but responded with a strong home win over York, with 19 points and 10 rebounds from junior guard Taliyah Malone (9.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Malone currently ranks a close fourth in scoring for a very balanced Alvernia team, whose top three scorers — junior forward Kayla Williams, junior guard Jordan Karmonick and senior guard Tamia Wessels — all average between 10 and 12 points.
Next Up: at Eastern (Feb. 1), at Albright (Feb. 4), vs. Messiah (Feb. 8), vs. Lebanon Valley (Feb. 11)
6. Albright (LW: 8)
Record: 13-7, 7-4 MAC Commonwealth
Recent Results: at Widener (W, 67-60), at Hood (W, 75-67), vs. Lebanon Valley (W, 62-50), at Messiah (L, 55-41)
It’s hard to fault Albright for anything on its recent résumé — the Lions took care of business against three conference opponents, including two on the road, and only fell at No. 3 Messiah. As such, Albright jumps two spots in this week’s rankings, up from No. 8. In the Lions’ three most recent wins, sophomore guard Mackenzie Dover was a force, averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists across that stretch. Leading scorer and rebounder Gabby Boggs (14.6 ppg, 11.5 rpg) a graduate forward, posted back-to-back double-doubles in Albright’s wins over Hood and Lebanon Valley.
Next Up: vs. York (Jan. 3!), vs. Alvernia (Feb. 4), at Eastern (Feb. 8), vs. Stevenson (Feb. 11)
5. Gettysburg (LW: 9)
Record: 12-6, 9-4 Centennial
Recent Results: at Dickinson (W, 60-57), vs. Washington College (W, 62-57), at Ursinus (W, 52-37), vs. Bryn Mawr (W, 81-24), at Muhlenberg (L, 59-57)
Gettysburg’s banner couple of weeks were slightly halted on the Bullets’ trip to Muhlenberg, but the big picture for Gettysburg is still quite impressive. In their last 10 games, the Bullets have won seven, with the three losses coming either in overtime, by two points, or at No. 3 Messiah. Gettysburg also earned a recent close win over No. 8 Dickinson, lifted by sophomore forward Shinya Lee’s late go-ahead three-pointer. Lee leads the Bullets in rebounding with an average of 7.1, while sophomore guard Mackenzie Szlosek holds the top scoring output with 12.7 ppg.
Next Up: at Franklin & Marshall (Feb. 1), vs. Ursinus (Feb. 4), at Johns Hopkins (Feb. 9), at Haverford (Feb. 11)
4. Haverford (LW: 5)
Record: 14-6, 11-4 Centennial
Recent Results: vs. Muhlenberg (W, 66-53), at Franklin & Marshall (W, 50-46), at Washington College (L, 53-45), at McDaniel (W, 56-46)
Haverford remains in the top five largely on the basis of its consistency; the Fords started the year 3-3, but haven’t taken back-to-back losses at any point since, and are now winners of four of their last five. Haverford, in the past two weeks, picked up two key conference road wins, as well as a convincing home win over a solid Muhlenberg team. The Fords’ lone recent loss came at Washington College (12-7, 8-6 Centennial). Haverford’s efforts continued to be buoyed by the outstanding play of junior guard Ally Landau (16.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), who is averaging 19.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in the Fords’ last five games, including a 27-point, eight-rebound output against McDaniel January 28.
Next Up: vs. Bryn Mawr (Feb. 1), vs. Johns Hopkins (Feb. 4), at Muhlenberg (Feb. 7), vs. Gettysburg (Feb. 11)
3. Messiah (LW: 3)
Record: 18-2, 11-0 MAC Commonwealth
Recent Results: at Stevenson (W, 67-47), vs. Widener (W, 67-52), at York (W, 52-41), vs. Albright (W, 55-41)
The Falcons are certainly solidified in the area’s top tier, the lone point of separation in their résumé from the top two teams, simply, being a second loss. Messiah took care of business in its four contests over the last two weeks, and has extended its win streak to 15 since starting the season 3-2 — by far the area’s longest win streak. Messiah earned a win over No. 6 Albright led by 18 points from graduate forward Megan Zimmerman. Junior forward Morgan Adams also found a new gear over the past two weeks, averaging 18 points and nine rebounds in three recent victories.
Next Up: at Hood (Feb. 4), at Alvernia (Feb. 8), vs. Eastern (Feb. 11), vs. Stevenson (Feb. 14)
2. DeSales (LW: 1)
Record: 18-1, 10-1 MAC Freedom
Recent Results: at Stevens (L, 49-48), vs. FDU-Florham (W, 83-22), at King’s (W, 66-28), vs. Lycoming (W, 77-32)
DeSales picked up its first loss of the season Jan. 18, and it was about as respectable a loss as a MAC Freedom team can take — on the road, against a 17-3 Stevens team, by one point. That said, it’s enough to knock the Bulldogs off the top line, in theory — in reality, as mentioned above, this is much more of a “1A” and “1B” scenario. Simply put, Elizabehtown’s lone loss is slightly stronger, having come against a top-10 nationally-ranked opponent in Scranton.
Other than the loss at Stevens, DeSales has been DeSales in recent weeks, crushing the three opponents that followed by an average of nearly 50 points. Two Bulldogs have especially stood out in recent victories — junior forward Mikaela Reese posted a combined 38 points and 11 rebounds in wins over King’s and Lycoming, while senior forward Megan Bealer is averaging 15.3 points and 5.3 boards over the past three contests.
Next Up: at Wilkes (Feb. 1), at Misericordia (Feb. 4), vs. Delaware Valley (Feb. 8), vs. Immaculata (Feb. 11)
1. Elizabethtown (LW: 2)
Record: 17-1, 7-1 Landmark
Recent Results: at Catholic (W, 64-58), vs. Goucher (W, 84-55), vs. Drew (W, 74-53), vs. Susquehanna (W, 79-52)
Elizabethtown, back on a win streak of four games with its lone blemish coming Jan. 13 against undefeated and now-national No. 4 Scranton, slides into the top spot for the first time this season. Ultimately, it’s a splitting of hairs, as the Blue Jays’ loss at Scranton came by 20, while DeSales’ loss to unranked Stevens came by one. Leading rebounder and second-leading scorer DaniRae Renno (14.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg) was a major standout in the win over Catholic, leading the Blue Jays with 19 points and 11 boards.
The Blue Jays have generally dominated their recent opponents, winning their last three contests by an average of 25 points while adding an impressive six-point road win over 15-4 Catholic. Elizabethtown will have all the chance in the world to back up its No. 1 area ranking in the next two weeks, with second matchups looming against both Catholic and Scranton.
Next Up: vs. Juniata (Feb. 1), at Moravian (Feb. 4), vs. Catholic (Feb. 8), vs. Scranton (Feb. 11)
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