Five players hit double figures in scoring as the West Chester University women’s basketball team kept pace with the top teams in the PSAC Eastern Division after a convincing 84-67 win over Shippensburg at Hollinger Field House Wednesday night.
The Golden Rams (18-5, 9-2 PSAC East) remain one game behind Bloomsburg for the top seed in the PSAC East; the top seed in the East will host the PSAC Final Four in two weeks. The Red Raiders (10-13, 5-6 PSAC East) fell one game behind one game behind Kutztown in the race for the fourth seed in the East.
Four of West Chester’s five starters finished with 10 or more points – Mary Kate Serratelli (16), Megan Stewart (14), Jill Keefer (13) and Alex Lennon (10) – as did Carly Strickland, who added 10 points off the bench.
“I thought it was a solid game,” West Chester head coach Deirdre Kane said after the game. “That’s going to help us this time of the year.”
The Rams’ balanced scoring attack was enough to counteract 34 Shippensburg points from the Wert twins – Shawna (game high 21) and Dana (13). Kasey Gardner, the lone senior on the Raiders roster, added 17.
That statement might be more evident when the Rams face Millersville tomorrow afternoon at Hollinger. West Chester is seeking revenge from the Marauders after being dominated 81-59 at Pucillo Gymnasium on January 22.
“We just didn’t play well that game,” Serratelli said. “We made a lot of mistakes we don’t normally make. It won’t happen on our home floor.”
“We’ve taken something from that game every time we lost,” Keefer added. “We take it and learn from that.”The Rams, however, weren’t looking past the Raiders with their arch-rivals next on the schedule.
The Rams weren’t looking past the Raiders, though.
Before the game, “when I asked [the team] what the most important game on our schedule was, they responded, ‘Shippensburg’,” Kane said.
“Every game we go into,” Serratelli added, “is the most important on our schedule.”
The Rams jumped out to a 23-13 lead in the first half, and never looked back. While the Raiders did hold a lead briefly (8-7 with 13:03 left in the first half), Stewart – who narrowly missed a double-double in recording nine assists – hit a three pointer to give West Chester the lead for good; the Rams led 34-25 at halftime.
The Raiders did get to within five points early in the second half. Shawna Wert hit five straight foul shots to make it 42-37 West Chester with 16:12 left in the game. However, the Rams outscored the Raiders 42-30 from that point.
After their rematch with Millersville, West Chester finishes up league play at Cheyney Wednesday night and against Bloomsburg at Hollinger next Saturday.
NOTES: With nine assists in tonight’s game, Megan Stewart now has 472 assists for her career, placing her 27 behind Colleen McNamara’s all-time career assists record of 509. … Shippensburg’s Shawna Wert, who was ranked seventh in the PSAC in free throw shooting percentage (83.1 percent), went 14-for-15 from the foul line. Dana Wert ranks fifth in the league with an 84.9 percent average from the foul line, though she didn’t attempt a foul shot in the game; Dana, however, made all three attempts from beyond the three point line, where she was a 38.1 percent shooter entering the game (10th in the PSAC). … In addition to the huge showdown with Millersville, Saturday is West Chester’s annual Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness. Kane noted that the splash page at the WCU athletics web sitepromoting the Pink Zone game registered nearly 1,300 hits, one of the largest responses since the site was launched. “We’re hoping to have a nice crowd,” she added.
Creighton Rabs covers West Chester University athletics for glowbass.com. He is neither affiliated with nor employed by West Chester University. Feedback can be emailed to [email protected]; live updates of select WCU events will be available on Twitter at @WCUExaminer.