Principia College Athletics is pleased to announce the return of varsity women's basketball in the 2018–2019 season. The Panthers will return to conference play in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2019-20 season due to schedules already being set for the upcoming fall.
A member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), Principia suspended its program following the 2015–2016 season to assess program needs. Then, in June 2017, Principia hired Dory Smith, an experienced coach with a track record of rebuilding programs. Smith is coaching Principia's junior varsity team this season and will lead the varsity team.
"It is an honor to be associated with Principia women's basketball," Smith says. "The women on this year's team fought hard to help reinstate a sport they love. Each one made sacrifices to be part of a rebuilding year, which has laid the groundwork for years to come. We have a solid foundation, wonderful support, a worldwide recruiting reach, and the benefit of some great players from Principia School. As a Principia basketball alum, I can't help but think of all the women who came before us. To them, we say, 'We're back!"
Co-captains Megan Selby and Alex Weitman, both seniors, are thrilled by the return of varsity play, noting the growth in character they've experienced and witnessed among teammates. "Principia women's basketball has shaped me into who I am today because of the foundation of character, love, and dedication," Megan says. "I am grateful that I was able to express these qualities in this year's JV season and am excited about the future of the team at a higher level in the conference." Alex concurs, adding, "Knowing that my younger teammates and future members of the team for years to come will be able to learn and grow and find success as part of a varsity program makes every minute of fighting for our program worth it."
Among all players, the delight sophomore Nikki Matters feels is typical. "I could not be more excited or grateful to have a varsity program next year!" she says. "Basketball has brought me so many blessings and so much growth. I cannot wait to give back to the Principia community through the game that I love so much."
Giving credit to the team, Director of Athletics Pete Paciorek notes the commitment and focus of the players on this year's junior varsity roster. "They are true leaders who championed the cause of bringing back Principia College varsity women's basketball," he says. "This team, led by Coach Dory Smith, has demonstrated togetherness, sisterhood, grit, toughness, and grace. I love watching them play, and so has our Principia community. These women can say that they were the ones who brought back Principia College women's basketball. They are champions!"
About Principia College:
The faculty at Principia College includes world-class scientists, published authors, noted historians, and celebrated artists and musicians. Active, experiential learning opportunities abound across the curriculum and in co-curricular activities. The only college in the world where faculty and students are Christian Scientists, Principia provides outstanding liberal art academic program in a unique learning environment that supports students' spiritual growth. An NCAA Division III school, Principia College enrolls students from 37 states and 31 nations.
STORY COURTESY OF PRINCIPIA COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION