On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the women’s basketball game that kept its fans on the edge of their seats from the opening tip until the final whistle, the West Chester University Women’s Basketball team came away by the skin of their teeth with a two point victory over visiting Cheyney University. A struggling West Chester (13-18) needed a win over Cheyney (5-26) in order to keep their hopes alive at earning a post-season playoff berth. With 8:43 left in the game, Cheyney tied things up at 51 a side, and from that point on, Cheyney never was behind by more than four points. They continued to look for sophomore powerhouse Ashley O’Donnell inside to get some quick points, but she was unable to capitalize on big free-throws in the final minutes going 0 for 3 at the line.
On the other side, West Chester standout senior Justine Pfaff came up huge in the final two minutes of the game, scoring back-to-back buckets for the Golden Rams, sealing the 59-57 victory over the Wolves of Cheyney University and walking away with 13 total points. After the victory, Pfaff passionately discussed their playoff chances. “We need to get into the mindset that we can be number one. We’re in the conference now.”
Coach Deirdre Kane agreed. “We need to beat everybody. We must travel [to other schools] and we must win. Everyone we’re playing is 5-3 in conference. We’re all in it.”
A continuing problem that has been haunting the Lady Rams this season has been their inability to play 40 minutes of intense basketball. They have been coming out of the locker room without the killer instinct needed to win a ball game, and Coach Kane has thus far been unable to shake that mindset. “I don’t know what to do about it,” she says, “We have no sense of urgency until the game is on the line and there are two minutes left.”
Pfaff agreed, saying “I wish we could pinpoint [the reason] so that we could fix the problem. For now we can only take things on game at a time.”
Making the rivalry even fiercer between these two teams is the fact that Coach Kane faces a former player, Jada Pierce as the head coach of the Lady Wolves. Though West Chester has now defeated Cheyney 30 consecutive times, both games played this year have been extremely close and the teams well-prepared to play against one another. Coach Kane paid her previous player a compliment post-game, saying “I would really like to congratulate Cheyney. [She] plays with such heart. They all do.”
Other players that contributed points to the scoreboard for the Golden Rams were Dominique Lewis with 15, Elise McCloy with 11, Amanda Vitzakovitch with 8, and finally Alexis Norman, Catherine Andrews and Natalie Winters each with 4.
The West Chester Women’s Basketball team has three games remaining before the start of the PSAC Playoffs. The Rams must win at home against Kutztown University on February 15th at 6:00pm, and at East Stroudsborg on the 18th and Bloomsburg on the 22nd.