Throwback Thursday: Hot, Hot Hoops (2003)

The DeSales women’s basketball team are 4-4 and will travel to Las Vegas next week to play in the D3Hoops.com Classic. The team was picked to finish second overall in the MAC Freedom Conference this year. Nearly 13 years ago, the team was ranked fifth in the nation and current head coach Fred Richter was entering his 13th season as head coach.

This article was originally published in Issue 6, Thirty-seventh Year of The Minstrel (February 7, 2003). The full text has been re-published and edited only for grammar and punctuation.

Hot, Hot Hoops
Lady Bulldogs basketball shatters personal bests, team records

By John Henry

The DeSales women’s basketball team is enjoying one of it’s most successful seasons in school history.

The Lady Bulldogs have won 16 of their first 17 games and are currently tied with both Scranton and Kings for first place in the MAC Freedom Conference. The team’s success on the basketball court has earned them national recognition. In the latest Division III national women’s basketball rankings the DeSales women were ninth in the nation. The Lady Bulldogs had been ranked as high as fifth earlier in the season; which tied them with the 1995 Allentown College baseball team for the highest national ranking ever for an athletic team in school history.

The cover of a 2003 issue of The Minstrel.
The cover of a 2003 issue of The Minstrel.

Head coach Fred Richter, who is currently in his 13th season as head women’s basketball coach at DeSales, attributes much of his team’s success this season to attitude.

“I think one of the keys is that the girls are really starting to believe in themselves; they are starting to understand that they are a good team and are becoming more confident in their abilities.”

The DeSales women pose a real problem for opposing coaches attempting to devise a defensive game plan. Whereas most teams rely on one or two star players to provide the majority of the team’s offense, the Bulldogs boast four such players which creates quite a dilemma for opposing defenses.

Sisters Alyssa and Teri Antolick lead the Bulldog attack, each averaging nearly 14 points a game. Senior center Teri Antolick, the older of the two sisters, has been a constant presence in the middle for the Bulldogs this season. She is not only one of the teams leading scorers, but is also the team’s leading rebounder (7.9 per game) and leads the team in blocked shots (20 for the season.) Sophomore forward Alyssa Antolick has enjoyed similar success on the court this season. The versatile small forward is a threat from beyond the 3-point arc and in the paint. Alyssa ranks in the top three on the team in nearly every statistical category including points, rebounds, blocks, steals and assists.

The Antolick sisters are complemented by the talented guard tandem of sophomore point guard Jen Netwall and junior off-guard Amy Yencho. Both Netwall and Yencho contribute over 10 points per game for the Bulldogs. Netwall leads the team in assists and is one of the team’s top 3-point shooters. Yencho is a 3-point threat as well and leads the team in steals.

Teri (top) and Alyssa (bottom) Antolick make a fierce duo on and off the basketball court.
Teri (top) and Alyssa (bottom) Antolick make a fierce duo on and off the basketball court.

After suffering their first loss of the season to conference rival Scranton, the Bulldogs rebounded with a road victory over Lycoming and a trouncing of Cabrini at home.

In the Lady Bulldogs match-up with the Lycoming Warriors, DeSales got off to a fast start. The DeSales women jumped out to an early lead and were up 11 points at the half. DeSales held Lycoming to 32 percent shooting  on the night and snuffed a last minute rally by the Warriors to hold on for a 54-48 victory.

The following Monday night the Lady Bulldogs were back in action against the Cabrini Cavaliers. The Cavaliers were no match for the hot shooting Bulldog squad. The Bulldogs built an early lead and never looked back on their way to a 73-41 win. Junior Amy Yencho led the way for the Bulldogs with 12 points on 6-10 shooting from the field. Point guard Jen Netwall dished out a career high eight assists on a night where 14 of 15 Bulldogs scored.

The DeSales women are back in action this Saturday afternoon Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs will take on Delaware Valley College in the “Coaches vs. Cancer Alumni Day Game.”

After Saturday’s home game, the Lady Bulldogs will hit the road for big games against Wilkes college on Feb. 12 and a much anticipated rematch with the University of Scranton Royals on Feb. 15. Coach Richter feels that the key to success for the Bulldogs in their upcoming contest at Scranton is for the Bulldogs to take control of the game from the start.

“Against Scranton we need to get off to a better start; last game we let them set the tone for the game early on and fell behind. It’s hard to catch up against a good team like Scranton and we can’t allow that to happen again,” Richter noted.

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