The University of Scranton women's basketball team will play its first game in 14 days when it faces William Paterson in the opening round of the Hat City Classic at Western Connecticut State in Danbury, Conn., on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m.
The Lady Royals (7-2) enter on a five-game winning streak after knocking off Guilford, 67-61 in overtime, and Gettysburg, 74-57, on Dec. 20 and 21, respectively, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Junior forward Meredith Mesaris (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) has provided the consistent offensive punch for Scranton, averaging 17.8 points per game while scoring in double digits in all 10 games. Freshman forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) is also playing well, averaging a double-double with 12.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
On the perimeter, junior guard Lindsay Fluehr (Bensalem, Pa./Nazareth Academy) continues to provide strong all-around play. She averages 7.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals while playing a team-high 29.7 points per game. Senior guard Alison Sweeney (Wall, N.J./St. Rose) is averaging 9.0 points while making a team-high 11 3-pointers, and junior guard Lia DiSciascio (Broomall, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) is close behind at 8.8 points and 10 3-pointers.
William Paterson (5-5) will be taking the court for the first time in 16 days after defeating Manhattanville, 75-57, on Dec. 19 at home. The Pioneers, who have appeared in the NCAA Tournament six times in the past seven seasons, were ranked 18th in the preseason D3hoops.com Top 25, but fell out of the rankings after losing four of their first six games.
Senior guard Floriana Borova (Cresskill, N.J./Cresskill) leads William Paterson with 18.9 points per game while also averaging 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.3 assists. Senior forward Dana Jeter (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) is averaging 12.1 points while pulling down a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game.
The all-time series between Scranton and William Paterson is tied at two wins apiece. The schools last met on Nov. 20, 2010, when the Pioneers earned a 71-62 victory.
Saturday's other opening-round game features the host school, Western Connecticut State, against St. Joseph's (Maine) at 5 p.m. Sunday's third-place game will tip off at 2 p.m., followed by the championship at 4.
The tournament was originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but was pushed back one day due to the forecast for heavy snow in the Northeast on Thursday and Friday.