Beaver Falls, PA – To say the Geneva College women’s basketball team struggled in 2011-12 would be a vast understatement. To say the Golden Tornadoes have enjoyed stability within the coaching ranks would be an even bigger understatement. Lori Wynn took over the reins a year ago and became the fourth head coach for the women’s program in a five year span. Regardless of any other factors facing the Golden Tornadoes in 2012-13, the stability of having the same coach in place should do nothing but strengthen a women’s program in need of consistency.
“Last year was tough on everyone,” says Coach Wynn. “There were many variables in place that led to us struggling so much. I believe those struggles have brought this team closer and we are ready to move forward and get this program back to where it belongs.” Geneva’s 3-22 overall record last year was among the worst in the school’s history so there is much work to be done to turn the fortunes back in the right direction. A good start to that turnaround will be the return of Leah Prisuta to the line-up after missing the entire season a year ago with a knee injury. Prisuta was a starter for the Golden Tornadoes in her two previous seasons and will be a welcomed addition to the mix. “Leah will be a nice addition to our team,” says Wynn. “We have a lack of experience at several spots so it will be a positive to have someone in the line-up that has a couple years of college experience.”
Geneva will have to find a way to make up from lost offensive production after losing graduating seniors Beth DeLuca (11.9 pt/gm) and Rachel Rouan (7.3 pts/gm). Looking for a break-out season in the post will be junior Samantha Fisher. Fisher started 11 games last year and averaged over seven points and five rebounds per game. In 2012-13, she will have to be looked at to improve upon both numbers. “Samantha will obviously be a big piece of the puzzle this year,” says Wynn. “We are somewhat lacking in size and she will have to really step up for us by rebounding and scoring the basketball.”
With Geneva being somewhat vertically challenged in the upcoming year, the perimeter players will need to play well. Leading the way in the back court will be the return of starters Chelsea D’Urso and Chelsea Kauffman. The duo combined to average nearly 15 points per game a year ago and will once again be asked for major contributions. “We are fortunate to have some experience in the back court,” says Wynn. “We will need more consistency shooting the basketball and both Chelsea’s have worked extremely hard in the off-season and will be ready to go.”
The Golden Tornadoes could also get a lift from a couple newcomers joining the mix. Heidi Mann, who has enjoyed a record breaking season as a freshman on the women’s soccer team, will turn in her cleats for sneakers and join the basketball program. Mann is anticipated to play a large role in the Geneva mix in 2012-13. Other freshmen that could impact things this year are Kate Carson and Taylor Yarletts. “Our youngsters will be thrown into the fire,” says Wynn. “We are in a situation that we will need contributions from every player on the roster regardless of class. Hopefully, that early experience will pay dividends in the long run.”
Having to go through the tough times last year for Coach Wynn and the Golden Tornadoes has served as motivation to make a significant turnaround for the upcoming season and beyond. Success can be measured in many ways and does not always show up on the scoreboard. As for the Geneva women’s basketball program, the success in 2012-13 will be measured in what strides will be made to get this program back to respectability. “We have a great thing going on at Geneva,” says Wynn. “This group of ladies is passionate about basketball and passionate about improving on a daily basis. Nothing will be handed to us and nobody is going to roll over for us this year. We will have to earn everything we get and I am very excited about going into the year with this group of dedicated student-athletes.”
If the passion within the players comes anywhere close to that of its head coach, the 2012-13 women’s basketball season may surprise an awful lot of people.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
Geneva provides graduate-level degrees in: Business Administration, Cardiovascular Science, Counseling, Higher Education, Organizational Leadership, Reading and Special Education.