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CSAC cancellation 'heartbreaking' for defending champion Keystone women's basketball team

Defending CSAC champs will not have the opportunity to defend their title as the conference cancels season.

LA PLUME, Pa. — The Keystone women’s basketball team had plenty to celebrate last season: Colonial States Athletic Conference champions, but with the conference already suspending play through January, Giants Head Coach Kristina Danella saw the writing on the wall.

"It’s heartbreaking," Danella said via Zoom. "We kind of knew it was coming, but with them delaying it multiple times, we still were doling on to that glimmer of hope."

Hope that vanished when the CSAC officially canceled the winter sports season last week – particularly brutal for the defending champs, who didn’t graduate a single senior.

"We wanted to play," Danella explained. "Coming off a great year last year and not losing anybody and then gaining a few really, really good players that fit into our system, we were so excited for this year to see if we could repeat at whatnot. So, to get that news was even more devastating."

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The CSAC has three schools out-of-state. At the Division III level, the logistics are a nightmare. Between travel restrictions and testing, the board of directors decided it was simply too much.  

"I know it was split down the middle whether to play, whether not to play," Danella said. "We have schools obviously in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania rules right now is everybody that goes to Jersey has to quarantine for 14 days. So, it would have made it really difficult, and they were trying to figure that out, and with testing and just the price of testing, it was just going to be extremely difficult."

Leaving this basketball coach in an unfamiliar spot - a winter off. 

"It’s very different," Danella explained. "Since I can remember, growing up through high school and college and then getting right into the collegiate coaching side of it, I’ve never had a winter where I’ve had more than I would a say a two-day break. So now this is very bizarre to me. There’s a lot of free time. It’s weird. I don’t really like it, but I’m really excited about next year and just going into that season, and we’re focused on the task at hand."

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