The West Chester University women’s basketball team lost more ground in the race for first place in the PSAC East as they lost to Bloomsburg, 84-76, on Saturday afternoon.
Three-point shooting was the key to victory for Bloomsburg, who moved to 14-4 in conference on the year with the win. West Chester fell to 12-6 in the PSAC, and their spot in second place was put in danger as well.
Junior forward Alex Lennon led the way for the Lady Golden Rams, going 8-for-14 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line for a team-high 21 points. Lennon also grabbed seven rebounds. Senior guard Jillian Keefer added 16 points and four assists.
Bloomsburg was led by the outstanding performance of Dana Wieller, who went 11-for-21 from the field including 8-for-15 from three-point range for 32 points. Kayla Oxenrider chipped in with 19 points while Kelsey Gallagher added 17.
The first half was marked by a startling difference in fouls called between the two teams. West Chester attempted five free throws throughout the entire half, while Oxenrider alone attempted 13 for Bloomsburg, making 12.
That difference evened itself out somewhat in the second half, but Bloomsburg still went 22-for-24 from the charity stripe. In fact, Oxenrider went 15-for-17 by herself, while West Chester shot 15-for-18 as an entire team.
But without a doubt, three-point shooting was what earned Bloomsburg the victory. They shot an astonishing 12-for-26 from long distance, with Wieller going 8-for-15 by herself. As a team, West Chester only made three of 15 attempts from three-point range.
The loss was a crushing one for the Lady Golden Rams, who would have drawn level with Bloomsburg atop the PSAC East standings with a win. Instead, they fell two games behind the Huskies, with only four games to play on the season. Now, West Chester sits in a tie for second with Millersville, who won Saturday over Kutztown.
This past Wednesday, the Lady Golden Rams had beaten Kutztown themselves at Hollinger Field House. Alex Lennon scored 21 points in that game too, leading West Chester to a 66-53 win.
While both teams shot poorly, West Chester was able to get 18 more shots off than Kutztown, which played a large part in the Lady Golden Rams’ victory. West Chester’s depth also helped; no one on the team played more than 25 minutes, while four players for Kutztown had to play longer than that.
West Chester led the entire game from start to finish. They also clinched a PSAC Tournament playoff spot with the win. The happiness from the securing of a playoff spot would only last so long, though, as the loss Saturday to Bloomsburg put their seeding in the playoffs in doubt. The difference between second and third in the PSAC East decides whether a team will host its playoff opener.
This coming week will be an important one for the Lady Golden Rams, as they make one last push to regain first place from Bloomsburg. On Wednesday night, they will travel to Shippensburg, while on Saturday afternoon they will host East Stroudsburg.
The East Stroudsburg game will have extra importance for West Chester. Festivities will be held before the game to support the team in the fight against breast cancer. Designated the “Pink Zone Game.” tip-off will be at 1 p.m., but the activities will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Pink Zone in Hollinger.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink, which will earn them a free raffle ticket. This ticket will put fans in the running for special baskets donated by WCU student groups, offices, Barnaby’s, Wegman’s, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Drawings will take place after the game, and fans must be present to win.
Fans that bring extra cash to buy special food will earn additional raffle tickets. All donations will benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Further donations may be made online at www.play4kay.org/goldenrams, at the Pink Zone game, or by contacting the women’s basketball team at 610-436-3399.
Joey Samuel is a third-year student majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at JS719745@wcupa.edu.