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Newcomers, transfer look to play key roles for Edinboro women’s basketball this year

Story first appeared on edinboronow.com on Nov. 11, 2015 and in the Edinboro University Spectator on Nov. 12, 2015.

Gone are Laurel Lindsay and Val Majewski, a pair of players that helped the Scots rise to the top of the PSAC and make a trip to the Elite Eight two seasons ago.

None of that phases the PSAC, though, as the coaches still think highly of the Edinboro women’s basketball team. Boro is in a tie for second in the PSAC west preseason poll.

Head coach Stan Swank believes his team is still a force to be reckoned with.

Aignee Freeland was named to the All-PSAC West women's basketball preseason team (Contributed/EU Sports Information).
Aignee Freeland was named to the All-PSAC West women’s basketball preseason team (Contributed/EU Sports Information).

“I think we have a very good team,” Swank said at PSAC basketball media day last month. “I like our two seniors, they bring a lot of experience, Whitney [Allen] brings a lot [of experience] as does Nicole [Johnson]. I think we have a really great nucleus.”

That core, led by seniors Aignee Freeland and Lauren Hippo, return from a team that a year ago finished 20-8 overall, 16-6 in the PSAC and made it to the PSAC quarterfinals before losing to Indiana (Pa.). Freeland, a York, Pennsylvania native, was named to the PSAC West All-PSAC Preseason Team as she was Boro’s leading scorer and rebounder last season.

Freeland got the preseason accolades, she wants to finish the season with a few as well.

“I want to end the season as [PSAC] Player of the Year and an All-American,” she said.

Hippo, the Altoona, Pennsylvania native, finished last season as the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 13.4 points per game.

She believes her and Freeland’s leadership is a big contribution to the team.

“I think with the loss of Laurel and Val, the one thing we need and what Aignee and I are being able to contribute to is leadership,” she said. “We are a really young team. So we are guiding the freshmen into the mindset that we’ve been there, we’ve been to the Elite Eight and we know what it takes to get there. So if you trust in us and trust in our coaches we are going to get there hopefully by the end of the season.”

Other returners include Johnson, who averaged 4.9 points per game, as well as Allen and Maggie Moore, who saw considerable minutes off of the bench.

The rest of the team will be filled up with newcomers, however, one of them brings some PSAC experience to the table.

Katie Fischer, who played for Mercyhurst the last two seasons, has transferred to Edinboro and is set to suit up for the Scots for her junior season. The Ambridge, Pennsylvania native played in 17 games a year ago for the Lakers, with two starts, and averaged 6.9 points per game as well as 1.9 rebounds per contest.

She brings a lot to the table, especially for a newcomer, according to Swank, who is entering his 29th season here in the Boro.

“She is the perfect person to come in,” he said about the 5-foot-7-inch guard. “She knows about the PSAC. So when we talk about Slippery Rock, she knows Slippery Rock. When we talk about other teams, she knows about them. That is so valuable. She brings experience of playing and coming in and being ready to go. We are thrilled with her and she is playing tremendously.”

Other newcomers for the Fighting Scots include Ayana Vaughn, Michelle Jahn, Melanie Lindsey, Brandy Merritt, Cheniya Sharpe and Allison Thompson.

With Majewski and Lindsay gone, Edinboro will try to recoup the 25 points per night the duo scored on average as they look to be an “all around squad.”

“We are going to be a very interesting team,” Swank said with a smile. “We are not going to be a run and gun team. We aren’t going to be a half-court team. We are going to be an all-around team where we mix it up…I think we are a little bit quicker than we were last year as a team. We will be able to play inside and outside and I think we have some young people who will be able to step up who have impressed us so far.”

Edinboro opens up its season in the PSAC-MEC Challenge, hosted by West Virginia State. The Scots face the University of Charleston on Nov. 13 and West Virginia State on Nov.14. The Scots’ first game in McComb Fieldhouse is its first PSAC battle of the season as they host Slippery Rock on Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m.

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