PREVIEW: Women's Hoops Ready for First-Ever NCAA Tourney

jayla galbreath blows a kiss to a teammate during pregame introductions before a game in 2024

NCAA Division III Championship Tournament - First Round


Penn State Harrisburg (17-11) at No. 24 SUNY New Paltz (24-3) // Friday, March 1 // 7:30 p.m. // Hawk Center // New Paltz, N.Y.


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Penn State Harrisburg will compete in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship Tournament for the first time in program history after earning an automatic bid to the Big Dance with a 2024 United East Championship victory. The Lions will face No. 24 SUNY New Paltz at the Hawk Center on Friday night, March 1.



(WATCH) All games will be streamed live and for free.



(FOLLOW) Fans can keep up with all the action in real time with live stats.



(DIRECTIONS) Ticket prices for Friday's contest are as follows: $15 for adults (13 years and older) and $10 for children (5-12 years old) and senior citizens (65 years and older). All tickets and concessions for purchase will be cash only. 



Penn State Harrisburg's women's basketball team is making its first NCAA Division III Championship Tournament appearance in program history. The Lions won their first United East Championship to clinch the conference's automatic berth to the Big Dance.



Penn State Harrisburg captured the program's first United East Championship and secured its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth with a 64-54 win over St. Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24. Ciani Redd-Howard posted a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double, while Giahny Correa and Jenna Montana netted a team-high 13 points each. Ali Lister led the team with six assists and Jayla Galbreath chipped in with nine points. Penn State Harrisburg (17-11) got up 16-9 late in the first quarter before St. Elizabeth (22-6) pulled to within two going into the second frame. Galbreath and Montana both had key 3-pointers midway through the second period to continue to fuel the away team's advantage before heading into halftime. With 2:36 left in the third quarter, the Eagles took their first lead of the night after Mya Davis scored a layup to put the home team ahead 45-44. Montana hit another clutch shot from beyond the arc before Correa went 1-of-2 from the free throw line to put the Lions back on top. Correa opened up the final frame with a driving layup on the left side and then Montana hit her fourth 3-pointer of the night to make it 55-49. Penn State Harrisburg knocked down nine foul shots in the last eight minutes to create enough separation to hold off St. Elizabeth down the stretch and clinch the program's first conference title. 




Since a mid-January setback at St. Mary's (Md.), Penn State Harrisburg has been red hot, winning 10 games in a row. The team's current win streak is the longest since the Lions won a program-record 14 straight contests during the 2011-12 campaign. 



Thanks to their strong play this season, a pair of Penn State Harrisburg players recently earned all-conference recognition. Junior guard Giahny Correa was named to the United East Volt Division All-Conference First Team, while senior backcourt mate Jayla Galbreath earned a spot on the United East All-Conference Second Team. 



Earlier this season, Penn State Harrisburg senior guard Jayla Galbreath joined an exclusive club when she became just the fourth player in program history to score 1,000 career points, joining former teammate Kendis Butler (1,277), Kaitlyn Carmo (1,168), and Steph Yetter (1,052) as the only players to achieve the feat. Galbreath currently ranks third all-time in program history with 1,058 career points.  




Giahny Correa is in the midst of a breakout junior campaign for Penn State Harrisburg. The guard leads the way with a 17.4 points per game scoring average and netted a single-season program record 434 points on the year. She was recently named the United East Championship Tournament MVP after netting 13 points during last weekend's conference title game. 



While Correa and Galbreath have provided the scoring this winter, Ali Lister has shined on the defensive end. The junior guard leads the team with a 2.9 steals per game average to go along with 5.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest. For her efforts, she was twice named the United East Volt Division Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season.



While Penn State Harrisburg was kicking off its win streak in mid-January, former standout and recent graduate Kendis Butler was representing the program as an NCAA Woman of the Year Top-30 Finalist at the NCAA Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. One of 30 finalists chosen from more than 600 initial nominees from across all three NCAA divisions, Butler was recognized for her athletic achievements, academic prowess, and service to her community as the only Division III women's basketball player to earn the distinction. 




The NCAA Selection Committee did Penn State Harrisburg no favors in pairing the Lions with No. 24 SUNY New Paltz for first-round action. The Hawks won the 2024 SUNYAC Championship are making their fifth consecutive trip to the Big Dance. Led by head coach Jamie Seward, New Paltz is riding an impressive 16-game win streak. After earning all-America honors a year ago, Brianna Fitzgerald picked up where she left off and currently leads the team in scoring at 19.3 points per game to go along with five rebounds and 3.2 steals per contest. She's posted four triple-doubles this season and ranks 22nd in the nation in total points (522). Teammate Hannah Vanderzee has been stellar as a distributor and currently ranks sixth in the country with a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. New Paltz has a couple of signature wins to its name this season, including victories over No. 3 Christopher Newport and a Vassar squad currently receiving votes in the Top 25 Poll. 



If the Lions are able to pull off the upset of No. 24 SUNY New Paltz on Friday night, they'll take on the winner of the Trinity (Conn.)/Baldwin Wallace first-round matchup in second-round action at the Hawk Center on Saturday night.



Fans can keep up with Penn State Harrisburg Athletics all season long on Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Threads, and Youtube using the handle @pshbgathletics.