For the West Chester University women’s basketball team to have any chance at the top seed in the PSAC Eastern Division, they must avenge their worst loss of the season against their arch-rivals today at Hollinger Field House.
The Golden Rams enter today’s showdown with Millersville one game behind division leading Bloomsburg by one game with three left to play. West Chester had a late lead before running out of gas at Nelson Field House on January 29 in a 76-68 loss to Bloomsburg; the Rams need one of Huskies’ next opponents to pull off an upset.
Unfortunately for West Chester, Bloomsburg’s next two opponents before next Saturday’s rematch at Hollinger are Cheyney and East Stroudsburg, both of whom are way out of playoff contention (both the Wolves and Warriors are 2-9 in league play).
Barring an upset of Bloomsburg, the Rams are, at best, looking at a second seed in the East, but face the prospect of hosting the Marauders. A loss to Millersville, however, all but locks West Chester into the third seed, and a probable return to Pucillo Gymnasium to face the Marauders.
Even if West Chester sweeps its final three games – Millersville today, at Cheyney on Wednesday, and Bloomsburg next Saturday – to finish tied with the Huskies on top of the East, Bloomsburg wins the tie-breaker over West Chester.
With the two teams splitting the season series, the Huskies win the next tie-breaker – head-to-head over opponents within the division. Bloomsburg swept their season series with Millersville, while the Rams, presuming they run the table, would have split their season series with the Marauders.
The above scenarios, naturally, are rendered moot if the Rams don’t avenge their 81-59 loss at Pucillo Gymnasium to the Marauders this afternoon. And Millersville boasts one of the best players in the East in redshirt sophomore Aurielle Mosley, who has been nothing short of dominant against the rest of the league.
Mosley, a product of Central York High School in York County, has recorded 14 double-doubles this season, including one in each of her last eight games. That streak started at Pucillo against West Chester. In her last six games, Mosley has averaged 23.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. She has not scored less than 21 points nor grabbed fewer than 13 rebounds during that stretch.
In Millersville’s blowout win over West Chester, Mosley scored only 12 points, but pulled down 17 rebounds. West Chester’s leading rebounders in that game – Carly Strickland and Alex Lennon – each only managed four. Mosley was one of five Marauders to finish in double figures in scoring – Mashira Newman scored 19, Gabrielle Styles 14, Dominique Stroman 13, and Carrie Sheffey 10.
Mosley was named PSAC East Player of the Week two of the past three weeks – sharing last week’s honors with Bloomsburg’s Dana Weiller while capturing the honors for herself on January 31. She also shared the honors on November 29 with Mansfield’s Megan Touhey.
For their part, the Rams played their worst game against Millersville this season, shooting a season low 30.4 percent from the field while allowing Millersville to shoot 45 percent from the field, the second best opponents shooting percentage of the season. (The best shooting percentage by a West Chester opponent this season came in the third game of the season against Glenville (W.Va.) State – ironically enough, in a game played at Millersville.)
If there has been one issue with Millersville this season, it’s been shooting from the field. The Marauders rank toward the bottom of the league in field goal shooting (37.8 percent – 12th in the PSAC behind Mansfield, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, and Cheyney … but ahead of a horribly bad Slippery Rock team). Their defense, however, has held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the league, 35.3 percent.
West Chester, however, ranked sixth in the PSAC in field goal percentage (42.2 percent), while holding their opponents to 35.8 percent shooting from the field – second in the league.
The Rams will counter Mosley with their own sophomore star – Alex Lennon. Despite seeing her scoring decrease slightly in the past few games, the sophomore from Lansdowne has more than made up for it defensively, including a three-game stretch of six or more blocked shots and a string of four games with at least nine rebounds.
With Lennon not scoring as many points as she had been during the earlier part of the season, Mary Kate Serratelli has stepped up her game, scoring at least 10 points in six of the past seven games. And, there’s still the backcourt duo of Megan Stewart and Allison Hostetter to contend with.
Despite needing a miracle or two to clinch the top seed in the East, West Chester needs this game in order to have a chance of hosting a first round playoff game at Hollinger on March 1. It’s highly doubtful that the Rams will have two back-to-back stinkers against their arch rivals. Plus, with the rematch at Hollinger – where the fan base has become more rabid in recent games – there’s no reason why the Rams can’t pull off the win.
Unless they can’t stop Aurielle Mosley, which, as the rest of the PSAC East has found out, is easier said than done.
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Saturday’s home game against Millersville will mark West Chester’s annual “Pink Zone” game. The Pink Zone is a national initiative sponsored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association(WBCA).
The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the nation of women’s basketball coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Overall, the WBCA Pink Zone has raised nearly $3.3 million, reached almost 2.7 million fans and unified over 4,700 participants in only four years.
Plenty of activities, giveaways, contests and donation opportunities are being set up as part of West Chester’s Pink Zone effort to raise money for breast cancer research.
Tables will be set up in the lobby of Hollinger Field House with educational material. Ribbon-shaped pretzels will be on sale, along with pink cotton candy, pink lemonade and pink T-shirts, which were donated by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference as part of its conference-wide effort to support Pink Zone and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund– the recipient of all net donations at today’s game.
Fans can make a donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in the lobby of Hollinger. Everyone who wears pink to the game will be entered in a raffle for a VISA gift card. Everybody who makes a donation will be given pro-rated raffle tickets for various other prizes, including a $50 gift card to the West Chester University bookstore, $25 gift card to Duffer’s Restaurant, a pink & white basketball and a West Chester University flash drive.