ERIE, Pa. – Following 25-6 season with a conference championship and NCAA Tournament bid, the Gannon women’s basketball team comes in at No. 3 in the D2SIDA Regional Preseason Poll Monday morning. The Golden Knights are one of three PSAC members in the preseason top-10 as Indiana ranks first and California seventh. Shippensburg and Edinboro both received votes in the poll.
(Photo courtesy Gannon Sports Information.)
Gannon defied 2019-20 preseason expectations with all-time winningest coach Cleve Wright back at the helm. Selected fifth in the preseason PSAC polls, the Knights finished second in the regular season and defeated No. 7 Indiana, 50-40, for the conference championship. Gannon earned the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Region and was set to host a portion of the NCAA Tournament before being canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Knights finished the 2019-20 season ranked No. 22 in the D2SIDA final poll. They also received 11 votes in the WBCA Poll.
Warren Area High School graduate Margo Loutzenhiser, the all-time leading scorer for the Lady Dragons, is a sophomore for the Knights.
The Knights return three of their five starters from last year led by senior guard Sydney Mitchell (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough). She did a bit of everything for Gannon averaging 8.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, and 3.9 apg. Mitchell fell just short of a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists vs. Edinboro in the PSAC Quarterfinals. Tori Obenrader (Fryburg, Pa./North Clarion) returns as the team’s only PSAC All-Conference selection. Obenrader was named a first-team selection after averaging 16.9 ppg and 8.2 rpg. She notched 10 double-doubles on the year including two in the PSAC Tournament earning her the Tournament MVP. Boston McKinney (Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) is the final returning starter for Gannon. She wrapped up the year with 138 assists to lead the team. She posted 17 games with at least five assists.
Gannon added three players to the 2020-21 squad. McKel Nation (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) and Jaidyn Harris (Aberdeen, Maryland/Oakland Mills) join the team as freshman after signing on the 2019 national signing day. Nation is a four-year varsity letter winner and helped lead her team to four consecutive Greater Western Ohio Conference titles and two district titles. She averaged 5.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, and 1.0 bpg in her senior campaign. Harris is a Second Team All-County and All-Tournament selection. She led Howard County in free throw percentage (85.8) and averaged 15.9 ppg. She shot 52 percent from three-point range, while adding 6.7 rpg, 3.4 apg, and 3.7 spg in her senior season. Emma Wright (Erie, Pa./Talawanda) was added as a transfer over the summer. She comes from Grand Valley State to play her final two seasons of eligibility.
In late November, the PSAC announced the cancellation of winter schedules, both regular and championship. Despite the PSAC announcement, Gannon reinforced its intent to facilitate seasons for its fall and winter athletic teams if conditions and the availability of willing PSAC institutions and non-conference contests are conducive to play. The Knights will look to tipoff 2020-21 action this winter.
D2SIDA Atlantic Region Preseason Poll
Rk Team (1st) – Points
1. Indiana (Pa.) (5) – 50
2. Glenville State – 41
3. GANNON – 40
4. Bowie State – 38
5. Virginia Union – 26
6. Notre Dame (Ohio) – 23
7. California (Pa.) – 22
8. Charleston (W. Va.) – 14
9. Lincoln (Pa.) – 12
10. Fayetteville State – 5
RV Shippensburg – 3
RV Edinboro – 1