The independent voice of the students of Penn State Harrisburg

The Blue & White Journal

The independent voice of the students of Penn State Harrisburg

The Blue & White Journal

The independent voice of the students of Penn State Harrisburg

The Blue & White Journal

Lady Lions Win United East in Historic Season

Caleb Steindel.
The 2023-24 Penn State Harrisburg Women’s Basketball Team.

Every successfull season must come to an end, and for the women’s basketball team of Penn State Harrisburg, it did on March 1st in the Division III NCAA Tournament. However, the season didn’t end before the girls won their first ever Conference Championship in what was their must successful year in program history.

The Lady Lions clinched the top overall seed in the division, which meant they hosted all of their playoff games until the championship, when they traveled to face St. Elizabeth. In that game, Penn State Harrisburg controlled things right from tip-off, as the Eagles never led by more than a point in the contest. Senior guard Ciani Redd-Howard was the engine, tallying a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Giahny Correa and Jenna Montana chipped in 13 points each. Despite St. Elizabeth’s superior record, the Lady Lions won handily by a 64-54 score, fueled largely by an impressive 23 points off the bench.

Redd-Howard said that the team mindset going into the game was consistency and tenacity. “We had to stay true to ourselves, stay true to our game, and just kick ass, honestly.”

Head coach Ross Patrick agreed. “Be who we are, do what we do, stay the course. That was the message.” 

While the championship was the big culmination of an incredible season, the rest of the year cannot be overlooked. The Lady Lions earned the #1 seed in the Volt Division with an 11-1 conference record, best in program history. Junior guard Giahny Correa dominated off the bench, leading the team with 17 points per game. Redd-Howard led in rebounds, junior forward Ali Lister paced the team in assists and steals, and senior guard Jayla Galbreath was sizzling from beyond the arc.

Their success didn’t come without adversity, however. After losing the first 4 games of the season and ending 2023 with a 4-9 record, the Lady Lions were in need of a big momentum shift. They turned things around in 2024, finishing the season on a 13-3 stretch that included nine double-digit wins. 

Before winning the championship, Penn State Harrisburg had to get past ther division rival Penn State Abington in the Divisional Final, a team that they had already beaten twice that year. Harrisburg saved their best for that game, knocking off their opponent at the Capital Union Building by a whopping 23 points in what was perhaps even a more impressive win than the United East Champion itself. Abington overcame a 15-point deficit to take the lead going into halftime, but Harrisburg controlled the entire second half, outscoring their opponent 51-26 to secure the victory.

It was Redd-Howard who led the way in the Divisional Final as well with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 steals. When asked about the game, she said that the win was all about team chemistry and commitment.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times, but we did it. We were focused, and we came out at halftime saying we needed to stay together. We’ve been through a lot of adversity this season, and our tough non-conference games prepared us for situations like this. When we do meet adversity we’re able to remain positive.”

Coach Patrick said that asserting dominance was key for Harrisburg and also shared an acronym that the team uses to prepare.

“We have a moniker called ‘Let’s EAT,’ which stands for effort, attitude, and togetherness. We took that moniker into the playoffs. We talked about expecting to win in game one. In this game, we wanted to be assertive in our presence.” 

When asked about her own performance, Redd-Howard continued speaking to the theme of overcoming adversity.

“I’ve been battling a lot of injuries this season. This was an important game for me, being a senior and not knowing if I’m going to return for my fifth year. I came locked in, prepared, and ready for anything.”

With the United East win, the Lady Lions had the opportunity to compete in the Women’s Division III Tournament, and although their magical season fell short in Round 1, they still put up a valiant effort. They lost 70-52 against number 24 ranked SUNY New Paltz on March 1st. Ali Lister scored a team-high 13 points and Ciani Redd-Howard tallied 12 rebounds. They shot 40% from beyond the arc as a team, but it wasn’t enough to advance. Despite the loss, the Lady Lions still made history, setting a new precedent of excellence for the program. 

Harrisburg also received some individual awards at season’s end, well-deserved accolades for the impressive run. Giahny Correa was named to the United East All-Conference First Team, while Jayla Galbreath earned All-Conference Second Team honors. Correa also set the single-season program points record with 434 and was named United East Championship Tournament MVP.

As the Lady Lions hit the offseason, they’ll seek to repeat their success in the 2024-25 season. Keep up with the team all year round at

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