The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team will face the No. 1 seed of the PSAC West Gannon at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Semifinals at Highmark Events Center.
Tickets are $10 for adults and senior citizens, and $5 for students 17 and under. PSAC students with a valid ID are free.
It is the first PSAC Women’s Basketball semifinal appearance for the Raiders since the 2019-20 season, when the Raiders faced Gannon in the Semifinal at IUP’s Kovalchick Complex. SU lost to Gannon, 74-58.
This year, the Raiders and the Golden Knights faced each other during the PSAC Crossover; Gannon was victorious, 65-48.
Shippensburg (24-5) is looking to take revenge from the PSAC Crossover result. The Raiders faced No. 3 seed in the East, Kutztown, on Wednesday at Heiges Field House in the PSAC Quarterfinals. SU’s defense and strong scoring run defeated the Golden Bears, 72-55. Shippensburg was ranked fourth in the latest NCAA Atlantic Regional Ranking.
Gannon (28-3) was ranked second in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Ranking and is the top seed in the Western Division. The Golden Knights faced Pitt-Johnstown in the PSAC Quarterfinals and nearly fell to the Mountain Cats. GU had a 22-4 lead after the first quarter but UPJ outscored Gannon in the third quarter and took a 54-50 lead. Gannon was able to pull away in the final two minutes with the win, 71-67.
PSAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY:
- SHIP is making its 13th PSAC Semifinals appearance in school history.
- SHIP has a 28-17 record in the PSAC Tournament. The Tournament’s first year was 1980.
- SHIP has reached the PSAC Championship game eight times, having posted a 6-2 record.
- SHIP’s six PSAC Championships are tied for the most in league history; its six PSAC Championships all came consecutively as the Raiders posted an 18-0 record in the PSAC Tournament from 1996-2001.
- Head Coach Kristy Trn has posted a 14-14 career record in the PSAC Tournament.
- SHIP’s last PSAC Tournament victory was when it beat Kutztown at home in the PSAC quarterfinal on Wednesday.
BATTLE OF EAST and WEST PLAYER OF YEAR:
- Senior Ariel Jones (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) was named the PSAC Eastern Division Athlete of the Year, while senior Sam Pirosko was named the PSAC Western Division Athlete of the Year.
- Between Jones and Pirosko they combine for 4,005 career points, 1,188 rebounds, 334 steals and 1,155 free-throws made. They have both been named a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Honorable mention All-American, Jones in 2019-20 and Pirosko in 2021-22.
- Both have been held to single digits before by each other’s team. Jones was held to eight points on Dec. 19, 2023, while Pirosko was held to six points on Mar. 7, 2020.
- Shippensburg has two players who were named to the All-PSAC team. Jones earned her fourth All-PSAC First Team classification, while Lauren Pettis earned her second consecutive All-PSAC Second Team honour.
- Jones 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.
- Pettis averages 11.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 29 games this season, ranking second 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).
- Gannon has three players named to the All-PSAC team; Pirosko was named First Team and Emma Wright was named to the Second Team. Bri Claxon was named Freshman of the Year.
- Pirosko leads the PSAC West and ranks only behind Jones in the league with a scoring average of 20.1 points per game. She also ranks second in the conference in field-goal shooting at 54.9 percent.
- Claxon ranks third on the team in scoring with 7.9 points per game, while Wright is second on the team with a scoring average of 13.9 points per game and ranks third in the league in 3-point field goals percentage (38.8).
- SHIP ranks second in the league in the fewest turnovers per game. The Raiders average 14.8 turnovers and have caused their opponents to commit an average of 18.9 turnovers a game.
- Gannon ranks sixth in the league in the fewest turnovers per game (15.7) while causing their opponents to commit an average of 17.0 turnovers per game.
- SHIP ranks second behind West Chester by 0.3 in combined team rebounds. The Raiders average 41.5 rebounds per game and lead the league in team offensive rebounds with 13.6 per game, while Gannon ranks ninth in rebounds with 37.5 per game.
Saturday’s winner will advance to Sunday’s PSAC Championship at 3 p.m., where it will face either No. 1 East West Chester or No. 2 California (Pa.).