This week, the West Chester University Lady Rams split their two road contests as they defeated the Shippensburg University Red Raiders on Thursday, but blew a second half lead in a defeat to the Bloomsburg University Huskies on Saturday. Entering the week, West Chester sat eighth in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Rankings.Senior forward Mary Kate Serratelli led West Chester (13-5, 4-2 PSAC East) with a career-high 20 points as the Lady Rams sailed past Shippensburg 79-61 on Thursday. The snow storm that blew through most of Pennsylvania couldn’t stop the Lady Rams as all five starters for West Chester scored in double figures.
The Red Raiders (9-9, 4-2 PSAC East) led momentarily in the first half by one, 5-4, two and a half minutes into the game before the Lady Rams took the lead for good. Senior guard Megan Stewart hit the first of her five three -pointers to spark an early first half run.
West Chester led by as many as 18 points in the first half as Serratelli scored 13 of her points in the first 20 minutes. The Lady Rams shot 50 percent from the field in the half.
In the second half, West Chester continued to hold a double-digit advantage for most of the half before Shippensburg got as close as six with 6:24 left after Monae Baker scored two of her team-leading 14 points.
The Lady Rams ended the game on a 19-4 run to deflate the Red Raiders after making a run to get back into the game. Junior guard Jillian Keefer scored eight of her 10 points in the final six minutes to help West Chester pull away for the victory.
Keefer hit six consecutive free throws during the run. Stewart (16 points), junior guard Allison Hostetter (11 points) and sophomore forward Alex Lennon (10 points) along with Serratelli and Keefer finished in double figures.
Hostetter added eight rebounds, four assists and a steal. Serratelli shot 80 percent (8-10) from the field for the game. The Lady Rams shot 47.5 percent from the field for the game. West Chester also shot 72.7 percent from the free throw line, including 14-18 in the second half.
Baker finished with 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the Red Raiders in the loss. Kasey Gardner added 12 points and eight rebounds. Shippensburg shot 35.1 percent from the field, and 17.6 percent from behind the arc.
On Saturday, the Lady Rams blew an 11-point halftime lead as the Bloomsburg Huskies (13-5, 5-1 PSAC East) scored 52 second half points to run past West Chester 76-68. In what was a battle for first place in the PSAC East, the Huskies took advantage of hot shooting to put themselves ahead of the Lady Rams in the standings.
Kayla Oxenrider scored a game-high 26 points to lead Bloomsburg who shot 51.7 percent (15-29) from the field in the second half.
Hostetter led West Chester with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the game, but the Lady Rams were outscored by 19 points and shot 37 percent from the field including 1-6 from behind the arc in the second half as they could not keep up with the Huskies.
West Chester never trailed in the first half, and led by as many as 14 points before Bloomsburg made a furious second half rally. Seven different players scored three points or more for the Lady Rams during the first half.
West Chester led 37-24 in the early stages of the second half before the Huskies turned it on. Bloomsburg went on a 20-7 run over a five minute span to tie the game at 44, the first tie of the game. Oxenrider scored 11 points, including three three-pointers during the run.
The Lady Rams answered right back with a 15-5 run of their own to take a 59-49 lead. Hostetter scored eight points and Serratelli scored five points during the run to help West Chester take another commanding lead.
The lead wouldn’t last though as the Huskies answered with another run of their own. Oxenrider and Dana Wieller led Bloomsburg on a 15-4 to give the Huskies their first lead at 64-63 with 3:55 left in the game.
Both teams swapped leads heading into the final two minutes of the game before Oxenrider scored nine of the Huskies final 10 points, including nailing six free throws.
Serratelli scored 14 points on 4-11 shooting. Stewart added eight points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Sophomore forward Ambreelinne Ortman scored nine points off the bench. The Lady Rams show 41 percent from the field for the game, and a dismal 51.7 percent from the free throw line.
Wieller scored 20 points and added three rebounds, two assists and four steals. Kelsey Gallagher scored 11 points. Oxenrider added nine rebounds, three assists and a steal.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Allison Hostetter. The junior guard averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals as West Chester split both road games this week. Hostetter leads the Lady Rams this season averaging 13 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game. She is also second in steals (34) and second in assists (55).
UPCOMING GAMES: This week, the Lady Rams return home for two games as they host cross-town rival the Cheyney University Wolves on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Mansfield University on Saturday at 1 p.m. to open up the second half of the PSAC East schedule.
WHERE THEY STAND: After six PSAC East games, West Chester sits in third place, one game behind Bloomsburg and a half game behind Millersville.
LJ Harrell is a graduate student majoring in communications studies. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.