On the first night of the Carol Eckman Memorial Tournament at Hollinger Field House, the West Chester University Lady Rams (6-1) defeated the Lincoln University Lady Lions 94-45. The 49 point victory over Lincoln tied for the most points that the Lady Rams have defeated an opponent by this season (Nov. 16 against Columbia Union). “I think we’re going to have balance, I don’t think it’s going to be that spread out,” head coach Deirdre Kane said of the offensive output put up throughout the entire roster.
West Chester jumped out to an early 17-4 lead led by senior forward Dana Weems’ eight points within the first five minutes.
The Lady Rams continued to dominate throughout the first half as junior forward Renata Neal and Weems led West Chester with 10 and 11 points in the first half, respectively.
The defense for West Chester held Lincoln to 16 first half points and shooting 20.8 percent from the field. The Lady Rams shot 57.6 percent from the field in the first half. West Chester scored 34 of their 44 first half points from in the paint.
“I guess defensively,” Neal said of what she wants to improve upon. “You can’t win without defense and defense is key.”
The second half was no different as West Chester scored the first 17 points to extend their lead to 47 points before Lincoln scored their first points of the half.
West Chester would lead by as many as 52 points late in the second half as the back end of the bench got a lot of playing time at the end of the game.
West Chester scored 38 points off of 34 Lincoln turnovers in the game. The Lady Rams registered 22 steals, led by Weems game-high five steals. West Chester turned the ball over 22 times in the contest.
“I think being more careful with the ball,” Kane said about what the team needs to work on. “We are a team that likes to run, we are going to get in transition but sometimes we try to make the ooh-pass or the ahh-pass instead of the easy pass. I think that’s an area we can improve on.”
West Chester shot 58.5 percent from the field for the game, but only 30 percent from behind the arc. Lincoln shot 23.3 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from the three-point line.
Weems led all scorers with 21 points and was one of three Lady Rams in double figures. Neal and sophomore guard Megan Stewart added 18 and 10, respectively. Of the 14 Lady Rams to play, 12 scored a point in the game.
“I look at them [Weems and Janelle Garber] as older sisters,” Neal said. “I try to learn from their mistakes and learn from what they do well. I try to collaborate everything they do to become a better player.”
“When we are playing in tough games and people get in foul trouble and the pace is so that people need to get subs I think Renata is going to see more time,” Kane said. “She has improved tremendously. It’s her work ethic and I have to credit my assistant coach who definitely spends a lot of time with Renata working on fundamentals.”
“This wasn’t one of our toughest games but it got me ready to take on the next team,” Weems said. “The past couple of game before I was struggling really badly. This was a good start for me to get my mojo back.”
Junior forward Janelle Garber led all players with seven rebounds, five on the offensive glass. West Chester recorded 46 total rebounds in the game, while Lincoln only had 34.
“I told the team that one way that Lincoln could hurt us was that they are very strong on the offensive boards,” Kane said. “So I think we were very focused on that and it’s great to see everyone rebounding.”
In the finale of the tournament on Saturday evening, the Lady Rams defeated the Chestnut Hill Lady Griffins 83-49. This was West Chester’s fourth consecutive victory.
“We are really scoring in transition really well,” Kane said. “I was disappointed because I feel like we let them go inside too much. They scored inside at will. We really need to work on that.”
West Chester jumped out to an early 13 point lead in the first half and never looked back as they ran past Chestnut Hill.
Weems led the Lady Rams with 15 points. Dominique Adams, Allison Hostetter, Stewart, Neal and Mary Kate Serratelli joined Weems as they all scored in double digits.
“I thought it was OK,” Hostetter said of her performance. “There were some things I would have done differently.”
Freshman Jill Keefer also stepped up and contributed scoring four points, grabbing three rebounds and stealing two passes. Garber, who didn’t score in the game, led all players with 12 rebounds.
“Jill is doing great but she is still a freshman,” Kane said. “Dom is a good little player. I think she is the unsung hero of the group. She was playing real well at practice but got hurt in the first game. She’s opportunistic and smart.”
After scoring two points against Lincoln on Friday night, Hostetter got hot early as she hit three jumpers within the first five minutes of the game. She also made a couple of passes that were applauded by the crowd.
“She’s exciting to watch,” Kane said about Hostetter. “She’s got great vision, she’s got quick hands.”
“You don’t get points for cuteness,” Hostetter said.
West Chester pushed the lead up to as many as 23 points by halftime. The Lady Rams shot 51.4 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the arc. They struggled from the charity strip going 2-6.
The Lady Rams scored eight straight points to start the second half to push the lead over 30 points. West Chester led by as many as 37 late in the game.
After struggling from the three-point line, West Chester shot 45.5 percent from the three-point line for the game. Serratelli went 2-2 and Hostetter, Stewart and Adams added a three-point field goal.
“We’re not a great three-point shooting team,” Kane said. “But we shot it well today.”
The back end of the bench got some playing time in the second half for the second consecutive game as Lauren Commodari, Angela Altemose and Shamyra Hammond made an impact late in the second half.
CLEARING THE NOTEBOOK
Player of the Week: Dana Weems. The senior forward averaged 18 points in the two-game Carol Eckman Memorial Tournament to lead the Lady Rams to two wins. She also averaged 4.5 rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Upcoming Games: After a week and a half off, the Lady Rams travel to face nationally ranked Holy Family on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. The Lady Rams return home on Dec. 20 against Goldey Beacom at 1 p.m.
LJ Harrell is a third-year student majoring in business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.