Seton Hill women’s basketball generating offense at record-setting rate
When the 14 players on the Seton Hill women’s basketball team convene for practice or prep for a game, Griffins coach Mark Katarski is reminded of a nuclear power plant.
If Seton Hill sticks together and plays unselfish basketball, the energy generated from the power plant is used for good.
Dealing with something as forceful as a nuclear power plant has downsides, too.
“If we don’t stick together, it can turn into a nuclear meltdown,” Katarski said. “The fact that we have so much depth, it can be a blessing and a curse.”
Through 10 games this season, the Griffins mostly have used their forces for good. With a 7-3 record and a 2-2 mark in the rugged West Division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, an unusually deep rotation has helped Seton Hill score at an alarming rate. Seton Hill ranks eighth in Division II at 84 points per game, just two-tenths of a point behind PSAC powerhouse IUP.
What’s unusual about the Griffins’ offensive outburst — or nuclear power plant explosiveness — is only three players are averaging in double figures, led by graduate transfer Megan Marecic (16.5 ppg), a Bethel Park product who played at Division I Drexel. Canon-McMillan grad Cheyenne Trest (13.5 ppg) and Lexi Civittolo (10.4 average) also score in double figures in Seton Hill’s balanced lineup.
“Seton Hill plays fast-paced, which is how my previous team played as well,” Marecic said. “The team is very unselfish. Everyone is willing to share the ball. … It’s reminded me how much fun you can have playing basketball.”
The team hit an all-time high for fun Dec. 14 at the McKenna Center during a wild 127-99 win against West Virginia State.
Seton Hill set single-game program records for points, field goals (46), 3-pointers (17) and assists (36). Six Griffins scored in double figures, led by a career-high 18 from Tiana Stewart.
“If you look at that West Virginia State game, our bench scored about 60 points. We really can depend on anyone on this team to move the ball and play well when it’s her time,” Trest said. “It was pretty crazy. I remember looking up at the scoreboard in the third quarter, and we had 80 points already. The ball wasn’t sticking to anybody’s hands. We were moving it so well. It was just one of those nights.”
It was Seton Hill’s second 100-point performance of the season. The Griffins put up 105 in a Nov. 20 win against Salem. They also scored 97 in a Dec. 11 rematch against Salem, but nothing comes close to the game against West Virginia State.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a game like that,” Marecic said. “It was so exciting to see everyone playing so well and doing the things we do in practice every day. It’s so rare to be a part of something like that. I’ll never forget the 127 points. What a great experience.”
The key for Seton Hill is carrying that type of offensive efficiency over to conference play.
The Griffins followed the outburst against West Virginia State with 58 points in a home loss to East Stroudsburg. Stingy defense is a common characteristic for PSAC teams, and when Seton Hill returns from a holiday break Dec. 30 at Lock Haven, it can expect to be tested.
Games against Slippery Rock, No. 2 IUP and No. 13 Cal (Pa.) remain, and the Griffins’ performance against those West Division powers will determine if they play past the regular season.
“The challenge for us will be staying consistent on both ends of the floor,” Katarski said. “We’re 18th in the nation in rebounding. We’re doing a good job of getting rebounds and getting second-chance points and holding the other team to one shot. It’s no secret we can score. Teams in our conference are mindful of that.”
Mike Kovak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mike at [email protected] or via twitter @MKovak_Trib.