Senior Ariel Jones (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) was named the 2023 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division Athlete of the Year on Thursday and graduate Lauren Pettis (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) joined her as an All-PSAC Eastern Division honoree to highlight the announcement of the 2022-23 All-PSAC Eastern Division Basketball Teams by the conference office.
Voting is conducted by the head coaches in the Eastern Division. The awards are based on performance in the regular season, and statistics listed therein do not reflect the postseason.
Jones earned her fourth All-PSAC First Team classification and the second PSAC Athlete of the Year award of her career. She joins Ashley Totedo Swanson and Lauren Beckley in having multiple PSAC Athlete of the Year awards. Beckley was named Athlete of the Year three times (two-time East Athlete, one-time West Athlete), while Totedo was twice named the PSAC Western Division Athlete of the Year. Jones is the first Raider honored with the award since she last received it in 2019-20.
Jones, the record-breaking queen, has broken four major records this season: the PSAC single-game scoring record (51 points), the PSAC career scoring record (2,717 points and counting), the NCAA Division II career free-throws made Record (834 and counting) and Shippensburg’s single-season points record (729 and counting).
“This is an outstanding and a well-deserved recognition for Ariel. It is a testament to her fight, her grit, and her perseverance,” Head Coach Kristy Trn said.
She currently ranks second in the nation in points per game (25.1) and leads the nation in free-throws made (188) and in field-goal attempts (611). She enters the postseason leading the PSAC in scoring, field goals, free-throws and steals.
Jones has posted double figures in 28-of-29 games this season, including 18 games of 20 or more points and eight games of 30 or more points. Jones’ 238 field goals made, 198 rebounds and 76 steals are all season career highs. She also tied her season career high with 65 three-pointers.
“She has battled through a lot of adversity, especially coming back from a cancelled Covid year and then a season ending with an injury,” Trn added. “Her level of play continued to rise each and every week and has raised the bar every time. She does it with sportsmanship, high character, and teamwork. It’s been something special to watch, and she should be extremely proud of herself.”
With 729 points this season, Jones becomes the first player in PSAC history to record four seasons of 600 or more points. She is also the fourth player in PSAC history to have 700 or more points in a season. Jones was also recognized nine times this season as a PSAC Eastern Division Athlete of the Week, the most by any Shippensburg athlete in a season and career. She has totaled 20 Athlete of the Week awards in her career.
Pettis earns her second consecutive All-PSAC Eastern Division Second Team classification. She averaged 11.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 29 games this season, ranking secnd in the conference in rebounding. Pettis ranks sixth in the nation in offensive rebounds with 4.3 per game and is ranked sixth in the league in blocked shots (1.3).
Pettis posted double figures in 17-of-29 games, including a career-high 23 points and 20 rebounds at Edinboro. She posted 13 double-doubles, including 16 games in double-figure rebounds. Pettis was also recognized four times this season as a PSAC Eastern Division Defensive Athlete of the Week.
Also this season, Pettis joined the 1,000-point club by becoming the 25th Raider to have 1,000 career points. She ranks 23rd all time at SU career points (1,032 and counting), third all-time in offensive rebounds, sixth in total rebounds and third in blocked shots.
“I’m so proud of Lauren’s accomplishments this year and she is absolutely deserving of all-conference recognition,” Trn said. “Being able to score her 1,000th career point, be a force on the boards, and an intimidating presence is how she has helped put her team on top of the PSAC East.”