Liz Waleski’s senior year at Pittston Area was one to remember. She was part of three District 2 championship teams, including the school’s first district title in girls basketball. That’s the path she chose to continue her athletic career.
Waleski is in the midst of her freshman season on the Misericordia University women’s basketball team where the 5-7 guard made her presence known to the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom Division from day one.
Through the team’s first six games, Waleski is third on the team in scoring at nine points per contest. She’s averaging just over 22 minutes per game while shooting a blistering 48 percent from the field. She also contributes four rebounds per game for the Colonels.
“College basketball is a lot different,” Waleski said. “I knew coming in it was going to be different. Everything is bigger and you have to know how to play with different players. It’s difficult, but you manage.”
The former Pittston Area sharpshooter, named the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 co-Player of the Year last season, is currently shooting over 50 percent from the three-point line. Her 12 steals lead the team. That defensive mentality came from the way Pittston Area’s girls team handled itself on the court.
“In high school, our mentality was always to run,” Waleski said. “In college, it’s still the same thing. It’s the fact of getting faster on a bigger court. It was easy for me.”
In the opening game of the season, Waleski wasn’t able to get into the scoring column against St. Lawrence. A day later, however, against Penn State Lehigh Valley, she scored her first career points as a college basketball player, finishing the game with seven points, three steals, two blocks and seven rebounds.
Waleski’s biggest game of the season came in a 76-72 loss to Alvernia. She poured in 18 points to lead the Colonels in scoring. In a win over Penn State Harrisburg, Waleski dropped 15 points.
So far this season, Waleski’s biggest obstacle has been knowing when to shoot and when not to shoot. She said once she was able to figure that out it came easy to her. So far, Waleski’s efficiency has been exactly what the Cougars were looking for. She’s taken just 37 shots and scored a total of 54 points.
“When I first came in, I wasn’t sure if I would shoot,” she said. “It was tough to find my role. Once that happened, I knew what I was supposed to do. It was easy from there.”
Waleski helped transcend Pittston Area girls basketball in her four years with the team. She was a four-year varsity letterwinner and helped the Patriots win the team’s first PIAA District 2 basketball championship. She finished her career with nearly 1,200 points.
The number of accolades Waleski achieved while in high school is too long to list. She was a three-time Pittston Area Holiday Tournament All-Star and the Armed Forces Game Most Valuable Player her senior season. She averaged 14.6 points per game.
She was just as effective on the soccer fields and on the track.
Waleski and some of her teammates were in elite company when they won three district championship in less than a year. Pittston Area won the District 2 girls soccer and track and field titles in Waleski’s senior season. Individually, she was a two-time District 2 medalist in 300 and 100 hurdles.
Not only has Waleski excelled athletically throughout her life, she’s also been an outstanding student. She received the Misericordia University Presidential Scholarship and the Dean’s Award.
Studying Physical Therapy at Misericordia, Waleski enjoys being close to home. Her family makes it to every game, she said. She is the daughter of Stan and Janice Waleski, of Avoca. She has a sister, Hannah, 13, and a brother JP, 25.
“I love seeing them,” Waleski said. “I love my family. It’s important for me to be able to go home when I can. It’s nice to hang out with them.”
The Cougars currently sit at 3-3 overall. They played DeSales University on Saturday, Dec. 5. Up next for Misericordia is a matchup with Lebanon Valley College on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at the Anderson Center in Dallas.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick