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W&J Women’s Hoops Tabbed as Preseason PAC No. 1

Photo Washington & Jefferson athletics.

GREENVILLE, Pa. – Washington & Jefferson claimed the top spot in this year’s Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches.

The PAC announced the results of its preseason coaches poll and its annual players-to-watch list Tuesday afternoon.

Washington & Jefferson College and 19th-year head coach Jina DeRubbo earned seven of the 11 first-place votes and 107 points to land the top spot on this year’s poll. The No. 1 seed in last year’s PAC Championship Tournament, W&J claimed its sixth PAC title in program history last February with a 58-42 victory over No. 2 Westminster College at Salvitti Family Gymnasium. It was the program’s first conference championship since 2005-06. W&J made its eighth all-time appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship last season.

Westminster, led by 21st-year head coach Rosanne Scott, secured the remaining four first-place votes and 100 points to finish second in the poll. Westminster owns one PAC title (2004-05) and advanced to the league’s title game for the first time since 2009-10 last season.

Grove City College was picked third (91) and was followed by Bethany College in fourth (81) and Chatham University in fifth (72). Saint Vincent College was sixth (70), Geneva College was seventh (57), Waynesburg University was eighth (46), Allegheny College was ninth (39), Franciscan University was 10th (27) and Thiel College was 11th (25).

Headlining this year’s players-to-watch list are Westminster senior guard Natalie Murrio (Pittsburgh, Pa. | Brentwood), W&J senior forward Victoria Koeck (Sidman, Pa. | Forest Hills), and Bethany sophomore guard Lindsay Garrison (Triadelphia, W.Va. | Wheeling Park). Last season Murrio was voted the PAC Player of the Year. Koeck was recognized as the PAC Defensive Player of the Year and Garrison was named the PAC Newcomer of the Year.

Three of last year’s All-PAC First Team selections are returning in 2022-23.

Murrio paced the PAC in scoring in 2021-22, averaging 17.3 points per game. She ranked third in the league in free throw percentage (.787, 111-141), fourth in assists per game (3.0), seventh in field goal percentage (.447, 168-376), 11th in three-point field goals made (38, 1.4/g), 13th in rebounding average (6.9/g) and 15th in blocked shots per game (19, 0.7/g). Murrio scored 30 or more points twice and finished with 20 or more points nine times last season. She had five double-doubles, including a 32-point, 20-rebound effort in a 102-80 victory over Geneva College on December 11.

Koeck started 24 games (27 appearances) last season, totaling 20 blocks and 24 steals. She led W&J’s defensive effort throughout its championship season, helping lead the Presidents to the league’s second-best scoring defense, limiting opponents to 52.7 points per game. W&J led the PAC in field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense, holding teams to just 33.4 percent shooting from the field and 25.0 percent from three-point range. The W&J defense stymied conference offenses throughout the regular season in 2021-22, leading the PAC in scoring defense (50.6/g), field goal percentage defense (.325), and three-point field goal defense (.241).

Garrison made 25 starts (26 appearances) last season and ranked third in the league in scoring during her first season, averaging 16.3 points per game. She led the PAC in free throw percentage (.876, 78-89), three-point field goal percentage (.377, 75-199) and made three-point field goals (75). Garrison also ranked third among conference counterparts in minutes played, averaging 32.8 per game. She scored 30 or more points twice and 20 or more points nine times last season. Garrison set Bethany’s single-season program record for made three-point field goals in 2021-22 and established a new single-game program record for made three-point field goals, hitting nine three-pointers in an 82-21 win at Penn State New Kensington on Nov. 16.

Garrison ranked 21st in Division III in made three-point field goals (75) and three-point field goals made per game (2.88) and 36th in three-point field goals attempted (199). Her 37.7 percent three-point field goal percentage ranked 43rd in Division III.

The eight-team PAC Championship Tournament will get underway on Monday, February 20 with its quarterfinal round. The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 22 while this year’s title game is slated for Saturday, Feb. 25.

This year’s championship tournament winner will receive the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the Division III Championship. Team selections for the Division III Championship are scheduled to be announced Monday, Feb. 27, with first and second round matchups scheduled for Friday-Saturday, March 3-4.

District 9 and District 10 alums on PAC rosters this season include: 

WESTMINSTER: Mariah Vincent (Kennedy Catholic), Emily Hess (General McLane)

GROVE CITY: Clara Hannon (Grove City), Nina Cano (Greenville), Amber Sefton (Lakeview)

CHATHAM: Ella McDermott (Slippery Rock), Keegan McConahy (Kennedy Catholic)

SAINT VINCENT: Emily Thompson (Mercyhurst Prep), Kelly Benson (Slippery Rock), Camdon Bashor (Franklin), Kayla Sharman (Girard), Reese Gadsby (Lakeview), Ella Marconi (Kane)

GENEVA: Emily Bucheit (Kane)

ALLEGHENY: Emily Lauer (Keystone)

THIEL: Jessica Wagner (Forest Area), Grace Jones (Commodore Perry), Emily Grandy (Sharpsville)

2022-23 PAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

School (first-place votes) Points 2021-22 Record (conference)

1. Washington & Jefferson College (7) 107 23-5 (17-1 PAC)
2. Westminster College (4) 100 18-10 (13-5 PAC)
3. Grove City College 91 17-9 (13-5 PAC)
4. Bethany College 81 15-11 (9-8 PAC)
5. Chatham University 72 17-9 (11-7 PAC)
6. Saint Vincent College 70 8-14 (7-10 PAC)
7. Geneva College 57 10-15 (8-10 PAC)
8. Waynesburg University 46 6-20 (5-13 PAC)
9. Allegheny College 39 6-19 (2-14 NCAC)
10. Franciscan University 27 1-23 (1-16 PAC)
11. Thiel College 25 5-17 (3-12 PAC)


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