Tue. May 28th, 2024

Entering this past week, the West Chester University Lady Rams had already clinched a playoff berth, but with two wins, West Chester could have clinched a share of the PSAC East title and hosted a first round playoff game at Hollinger Field House. Unfortunately for the Lady Rams, they were only able to win one of their final two games, ensuring that they will travel to Millersville University on Tuesday to face the arch-rival Marauders in the first round of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference postseason tournament as the number three seed.

On Wednesday, West Chester (20-6, 11-3 PSAC East) traveled to the cross-town rival Cheyney University Wolves (6-20, 2-12 PSAC East) and came away with a 97-45 victory. This marked the seventh consecutive victory for the Lady Rams. The 97 points scored were the most points scored for West Chester this season.

“Every game is important so we had to bring our A game,” senior guard Megan Stewart said. “I was really proud of the way our team came out and played.”

Cheyney scored the first two points of the game, and that’s the most they led by before the Lady Rams scored the next 13 points to go up 13-2 within the first five minutes. West Chester got the lead to as many as 23 points by the end of the first half as junior guard Allison Hostetter scored two of her team-leading 13 first half points with 12 seconds remaining in the half.

The Lady Rams shot 46.7 percent (14-30) from the field in the first half. West Chester held the Wolves to 26.9 percent (7-26) from the field as they held a 43-20 halftime lead.

It was much of the same in the second half, as the Lady Rams bench got involved in the action. Within the first eight minutes of the second half, West Chester pushed the lead to 40 points (68-28). Stewart scored 10 during the span.

The Lady Rams bench accounted for 38 of their 54 second half points. West Chester led by as many as 53 points in the second half following two free throws from guard Paige Elliott with two minutes remaining in the game.

Hostetter led all scorers with 17 points. She added five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Stewart finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal. Sophomore forward Alex Lennon finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, two assists, six blocks and three steals. Off the bench, sophomore forward Carly Strickland finished with 10 points, four rebounds and a block.

The Lady Rams outrebounded Cheyney 56-28 for the game. West Chester shot 50.8 percent from the field for the game. The Lady Rams also had 22 assists on 31 made baskets. The Wolves shot 23.8 percent from the field for the game.

“We emphasized rebounding,” head coach Deirdre Kane said. “It was one of our major keys to the game. We told them that if it was under [Cheyney’s] basket, to fall on it just to keep them from getting it.”

On Saturday, in a game that could have given West Chester a share of the PSAC East title and a home playoff game, the Lady Rams fell to the Bloomsburg University Huskies (21-5, 13-1 PSAC East) 68-47 on Senior Day. With the win, the Huskies won their first PSAC East title since 2000-2001

The Lady Rams scored the first four points of the game as Lennon and Stewart put West Chester up early. But Bloomsburg tied it up three minutes later and took the lead following a Kayla Oxenrider three-point shot with 13:23 left in the first half.

The Lady Rams took a 20-19 lead following two free throws from Stewart with 2:31 left in the half, but the Huskies took to lead on their next possession as Lauren Ellis converted a layup. Bloomsburg never trailed the rest of the way. West Chester went on a 3-0 run in the final 53 seconds to go into halftime trailing 24-23.

“That wasn’t the Bloomsburg team we know in the first half,” Kane said. “They usually make shots and in the second half their shooting percentage went from 28 to 63 and that’s the Bloomsburg team that I know. When you make a defensive mistake they make you pay.”

In the second half, the Lady Rams tied the game twice at 26 and 28 before the Huskies went on a 23-5 run over the next eight minutes to take control of the game. Dana Wieller hit three three-point field goals during the run to help Bloomsburg take a commanding 51-33 lead.

West Chester got as close as 12 points (51-39) after Lennon scored four consecutive points. But the Huskies continued to pour it on as they led by as many as 24 points in the second half.

The Lady Rams shot 25.8 percent (16-62) from the field for the game and shot 2-14 from behind the arc. Bloomsburg in contrast shot 42.6 percent from the field and 10-21 from behind the arc. West Chester outrebounded the Huskies 47-38.

“We shot the ball horribly,” Kane said. “It was probably our worst shooting outing all year. Shot selection was poor.”

Lennon finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Stewart also finished with 11 points eight rebounds, one assist and three steals. Hostetter finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and two assists.

Wieller led all scorers with 20 points, 18 of which came from behind the arc. Oxenrider (14 points) and Kelsey Gallagher (12 points) also finished in double figures. Oxenrider added nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“It’s tough,” Kane said. “Another victory would have meant another game on our home floor.”

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Megan Stewart. The senior averaged 12 points, 7.5 rebounds, three assists and two steals this week. For the season, Stewart led the team in scoring (12.9 points per game), assists (5.5 assists per game) and steals (2.9 steals per game).

LJ Harrell is a graduate student majoring in communications studies. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.

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