Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

In the opening week of conference play, the West Chester University Lady Rams made known that they will be a tough team to deal with in the PSAC Eastern Division.On Wednesday, Jan. 14, the Lady Rams (10-5, 2-0 PSAC East) proved this by defeating the Millersville University Lady Marauders 64-54. Millersville had not lost a PSAC East game in about two years. West Chester dealt Millersville the blow in overtime, after senior forward Dana Weems hit a three from well behind the line to tie the game for West Chester and send the game into the extra session.

“They sagged off of Dana and she struggled,” head coach Deidre Kane said. “It takes away her drives and causes her to hesitate but she has that kind of range and maybe that shot will give her back her swagger. She has confidence, swagger and courage.”

“It feels good,” Weems said following the victory. “It gave us our swagger back I guess. It feels good all around.”

“That’s what you get when you put Millersville against West Chester in the first game of the conference schedule,” Millersville head coach Mary Fleig said about the exciting game between the two schools.

The game started in back-and-forth fashion as West Chester scored first as redshirt freshman Allison Hostetter hit a jumper within the first two minutes.

A couple minutes later, Jenna Craig tied the game as she converted a layup, and then Dominique Stroman hit one of two free throws to give the Lady Marauders their first lead of the game.

West Chester was able to regain the lead and go up by as much as six points following a Megan Stewart three pointer midway through the first half.

With a couple minutes remaining in the half, junior guard Ashley Moyer buried a three point shot to tie the game. But with a minute remaining, Stewart hit a three of her own to give the Lady Rams a 27-24 lead heading into the locker room.

Stewart went 3-3 from behind the arc as she led all scorers with 11 points at halftime. West Chester shot 34.8 percent (8-23) from the field in the half.

Senior forward Gladine St. Julien led Millersville with eight points and six rebounds. The Lady Marauders shot 31.3 percent (10-32) from the field for the half.

St. Julien opened the half hitting a jumper and cutting the West Chester lead to one point.

Following a timeout, the Lady Rams looked inside as junior captain forward Janelle Garber converted a layup to give West Chester a three point lead once again.

Millersville retook the lead five minutes into the second half when St. Julien hit a jumper to take a one point lead.

The game would stay tied until junior forward Renata Neal converted on consecutive layups to give West Chester a four point lead with nine minutes left in the second half.

“Renata played a great game,” Kane said. “She’s just so unselfish to play like she does off the bench.”

A couple minutes later, Millersville senior guard Jenna Philo hit her first of two three pointers to give the Lady Marauders a one point lead, their first lead in nearly ten minutes.

Millersville pushed their lead up to four points before West Chester made a little run of their own. Following a jumper by Garber and a free throw by St. Julien, Weems stepped up and made a big play.

With the Millersville defense playing off of her anticipating a drive to the basket, Weems hit a three to tie the game with 22 seconds remaining on the clock.

“I was like should I shoot it?” Weems said. “I didn’t hit a shot all day so I figured why not, just go for it.”

West Chester dominated the overtime session outscoring Millersville 15-5. Millersville shot 1-12 in the overtime period. The Lady Rams converted 10 consecutive free throws to put an end to the Millersville conference winning streak.

“We came out as hard as we could in the overtime,” Stewart said. “We got to the line and Janelle and Hostetter did a good job at finishing.”

“Every time we made a mistake defensively it was because we were over playing,” Kane said. “The way to beat Millersville is to definitely play their three-point shooters. If you look at their cumulative stats they only have two kids that are comfortable shooting the three. The game plan was to sag off the rest of them and get out their on those two.”

“We only held them to 54 points, that’s great defense,” Weems said. “Even in overtime that’s excellent. Our defense was excellent. For us our defense definitely helped us a lot. But today we definitely wanted to win.”

Stewart finished with a team high 17 points and four assists. Garber (13) and Hostetter (10) also scored in double digits for the Lady Rams. West Chester shot 39.2 percent from the field for the game.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, the Lady Rams continued their exciting winning ways as West Chester defeated the Bloomsburg University Lady Huskies 71-70 in their second consecutive overtime game.

For the second consecutive game, it was Weems who stepped up and made the game winning play despite not having her best game statistically.

With three seconds remaining on the clock, following a pair of timeouts, West Chester got the ball to Weems who drove the lane and converted a layup just as time expired to give the Lady Rams the victory over the Lady Huskies.

“Not one thought, just go to the basket,” Weems said. “I was surprised the lane was open that much. When I went around the corner I did not expect the lane to be that open at all.”

West Chester struggled in the first half as Bloomsburg never trailed throughout the half. The Lady Huskies held a six-point advantage halfway through the first half after senior center Colleen Kegerreis made a layup.

Bloomsburg then increased their lead to nine points after freshman guard Kelsey Gallagher made a layup.

“Kelsey Gallagher is a hell of a player,” Kane said. “She will get my vote for rookie of the year. She kept them in it the whole game. It’s a great effort on their part and a lackadaisical effort on our part. Poor shooting and settling for threes too much but we found a way to win at the end.”

Stewart ended the half on a good note for the Lady Rams as she nailed a three-point shot as time was running down in the half to cut the Bloomsburg lead to four at halftime.

The Lady Huskies came out in the second half and blossomed their lead to 12 points as Gallagher scored seven points and assisted on two more made baskets.

But the Lady Rams did not give up. Neal converted a layup and a free throw to cut the lead to eight points and than Stewart and Bridget Carlin hit consecutive three-pointers to tie the game at 48 with 11 minutes remaining in the second half.

With 10 minutes left, Mary Kate Serratelli made a layup to give West Chester their first lead of the game.

The game stayed close throughout the remainder of the second half. Carlin hit a pair of free throws to tie the game up at 61 and force a second consecutive overtime for both teams.

Bloomsburg held a three-point lead with a minute and a half remaining but West Chester took the lead by one after a pair of made free throws by Carlin.

After Kegerreis made a layup with four seconds left to give the Lady Huskies the one-point lead, Weems made a layup as time expired to give the Lady Rams their third consecutive victory.

Garber led four Lady Rams in double figures scoring 14 points. Stewart finished with nine points and 11 rebounds. Neal (13), Weems (11) and Carlin (10) also finished in double figures. Freshman Jill Keefer finished with eight points and five rebounds. West Chester shot 33.3 percent from the field, but only 7-29 from behind the arc.

“I thought Renata did a real nice job,” Kane said. “Bridget Carlin hitting those clutch free throws. Dana’s shot is going to be meaningless if she doesn’t hit those free throws. I thought it was a good all aroun
d team effort on a sub par performance. But a great effort.”

CLEARING THE NOTEBOOK

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dana Weems. Even though she did not have her best week statistically, the senior forward buried a late in the second half against Millersville to force overtime and than made a layup as time expired to defeat Bloomsburg to open up 2-0 min the PSAC East.

UPCOMING GAMES: This week, the Lady Rams hit the road for two games. On Wednesday, West Chester travels to rival Cheyney for a 6 p.m. tip-off. On Saturday, they take the long trek to Mansfield for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Mountaineers.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Lady Rams are tied in first place in the PSAC East after the first week of conference play. West Chester is tied with Cheyney, Kutztown and Shippensburg at 2-0.

LJ Harrell is a third-year student majoring in Business. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.

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