SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — If you've seen the Shippensburg University women's basketball team this season, you know there's a lot to like from the Raiders.
"Top to bottom, this has been the best chemistry I've seen, probably, in the 25 years I've been here as head coach," said head coach Kristy Trn.
"We expected ourselves to do really well and play hard, but this right now, it feels really good," added senior forward Lauren Pettis. "We're showing who we are, showing our identity, and it's fun."
The Raiders boast a 13-3 record, they're tops in the PSAC East standings and have a pair of five-game win streaks.
They're off to one of the best starts in program history, all while one Raider closes in on conference history and everyone is counting down—or almost everyone.
"Don't tell me about it. Definitely, don't tell me about it," said senior guard Ariel Jones while shaking her head. "I'll have family ask, or people text me, 'Hey, you're close. How many away?' I'm like, 'I can tell you where to look for it if you want to look for it, but me personally, I'm not going to go and look.'"
The Cedar Crest grad sits 26 points away from becoming the PSAC's all-time leading women's basketball scorer. The only name in front of her is another Raider, Lauren Beckly, who posted 2,407 points in her time at Ship.
"Lauren Beckley is also a former player of mine. And after you coach a player like that, you feel like that's a once-in-a-lifetime situation," said Trn. "Then Ariel came in her freshman year and that season, after her freshman year, that certainly was the thought, that she could do what we thought couldn't be done again."
At times, Jones has made it look easy, stacking accolade after accolade, but after her junior year, just getting on the court would've been a welcomed sight. COVID canceled the 2020-2021 season, and two games into the following year, she would take a medical redshirt because of an ankle injury.
"It was really tough, sad, upsetting," recalled Jones. "At the end of the day, I had to believe in God and believe there was a reason that I wasn't playing and this is the reason. It was tough during that time but now looking back, I wouldn't change it."
The Lebanon County native knows that as long as she and her team continue to stay in the moment, the Raiders will achieve their goals and any other milestone may just come with it.
"We call it the microscope and the telescope," said Trn. "The things in the telescope are what we're striving towards, but the little things, daily, are what we have to focus on."
"Just being in the moment is what I'm focusing on, because it can get taken away at any point, so I just want to play every game like it's my last with my teammates."
Shippensburg is at home on Saturday against Kutztown for a 1 p.m. tip-off.