ST. CLAIRSVILLE -- The Ohio University Eastern women's' basketball team finished last season with a 17-6 record, winning the Ohio Regional Campus Conference Eastern Division, but ultimately fell short of its goal of a state title.
The best news is that OU Eastern graduated just one player in former Beallsville star Charity Street, giving the Lady Panthers depth and experience.
"Our goal this year is to repeat as East Division champions and to win the ORCC conference tournament," stated OUE coach and athletic director E.J. Schodzinski. The Panthers boss is entering his sixth year as head coach and has a record of 80-35.
Amber Skvarka, a 5-5 junior from Martins Ferry, returns to the Panthers as the shooting guard after averaging 15 points a game last season. She is joined in the back court by 5-5 freshman Natalie Perzanowski, who will play the point. The St. John Central grad transferred to OUE after running track and cross country for the University of Toledo last season.
Allie Doan will also start for the Panthers. The 5-4 sophomore guard from Barnesville draws plenty of praise from Schodzinski after averaging seven points a game last year.
"The best thing about Allie is that she is a competitor. She wants to win and is willing to do whatever it takes," complimented Schodzinski. "She is a solid defender, runs the floor well, likes to take the ball to the basket and can shoot from three-point range. I am depending on her to be a mainstay in the backcourt."
Also figuring into the guard mix will be Brittany Burch, a 5-6 sophomore guard from Martins Ferry who averaged six points a game last season and Bethany Steele, a 5-3 freshman guard from Bellaire.
Emily Carpenter, the lone senior for the Panthers, averaged five points and five boards a contest last year. The 6-0 Barnesville product will start in the post.
"Emily has recommitted herself this year," noted Schodzinski. "This is her senior year and she wants to go out with a bang. I'm counting on her to run the floor, rebound and score in the paint. I think she is going to have an excellent senior season."
Savannah Burke, a 5-10 sophomore forward from Beallsville, will also start at forward. Burke joined the Panthers midway through the season last year and averaged 21 points and 10 boards a game.
Kristina Velkovich, a 5-11 sophomore from St. John Central, and Shae Moreland, a 5-11 freshman from Martins Ferry, will also get plenty of time at the forward slots. Velkovich was good for five points and four rebounds a game last season while Moreland took all-Eastern District honors with Ferry.