After an impressive streak over winter break during which they won six games in a row, the West Chester women’s basketball team was upset on Saturday afternoon in an away contest at East Stroudsburg, 60-58.
In what can only be defined as a game of two halves, West Chester’s brilliant run of form simply vanished during the first half Saturday, as they were outscored 32-13 by halftime.
The Lady Golden Rams mounted a valiant comeback effort during the second half despite being down 21 at that point, and managed to outscore their opponents by a 45-28 margin throughout the half, but it wasn’t enough. They came up short, by two points, to suffer their first defeat since Jan. 6 and only their second loss since early December.
As it were, West Chester’s leading ladies were unable to put up the numbers that fans have become accustomed to. Star senior guard Allison Hostetter could only get off nine shots, and of those, only two were made. She finished with only seven points, despite averaging a team-leading 14.3 points per game.
Fellow starters Jillian Keefer and Meghan Kerrigan only could muster a combined 1-4 from the field, netting the team three points between the two of them.
The loss was all the more disappointing because of what the team had accomplished over the previous six games. While their classmates enjoyed winter break, the team was on fire, taking down six conference opponents in a row. The most impressive win was the previous Saturday, when they took down Bloomsburg to capture first place in the PSAC East.
In that game, Paige Elliot scored 20 points off the bench in only 16 minutes, her best performance of the year by far and a career-high. Hostetter added 16 of her own as West Chester beat their closest rival in the division.
That win gave the Lady Golden Rams sole possession of first place in the division, but with Saturday’s loss to East Stroudsburg, Bloomsburg was able to draw even for first once again.
Heading into Saturday’s loss, the team had been on an absolute tear going back to Dec. 10, winning nine of their last 10. After a three-week break at the end of the fall semester, the Lady Golden Rams swept both games of the Carol Eckman Memorial Tournament, which they hosted in late December.
They then returned to their regular schedule of two games per week, and after a disappointing loss to Indiana (Pa.), they disposed of California (Pa.), Kutztown, Millersville, Shippensburg, Bloomsburg, and Cheyney in one fell swoop.
West Chester now sits at a comfortable 14-4 on the year, including a 10-4 mark in the PSAC. Even more impressive is the team’s 7-1 record at home, the only blemish coming back on Dec. 4 in a two-point loss to Gannon.
West Chester returns home this week to play a pair of games. First they host Mansfield on Wednesday night, before taking on Millersville on Saturday afternoon. That game could serve as a chance for Millersville to catch up with the Lady Golden Rams. Millersville is only one game behind West Chester and Bloomsburg in the PSAC East standings. Mansfield, meanwhile, sits in fifth at 4-10 in conference.
Joey Samuel is a third-year student majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at JS719745@wcupa.edu.