During the early portion of the PSAC East schedule, the West Chester University Lady Rams struggled to get wins on the road. Their only wins in the division came at home, while their three losses came on the road. But on Saturday, after traveling a couple hours to Koehler Fieldhouse, the Lady Rams finally got a “W” on the road as they defeated the East Stroudsburg University Warriors 82-55 to even their conference record.Senior forward Janelle Garber and junior guard Megan Stewart led the way for West Chester (14-5, 3-3 PSAC East) as they led all scorers with 15 points on the afternoon. Two other starters, sophomore Allison Hostetter (14 points) and junior Dominique Adams (11 points) also finished with double figures in the game.
The Lady Rams got off to a hot start as they jumped all over East Stroudsburg in the first six minutes of the game. West Chester led 18-2 as four of the five starters for the Lady Rams got on the board early in the contest.
West Chester was able to hold a double-digit lead throughout the entire first half as the Warriors struggled offensively. East Stroudsburg got as close as 10 with six minutes remaining in the first half, while the Lady Rams pushed the lead to as many as 17 with four minutes left in the half.
West Chester held the Warriors to 28 percent (7-25) shooting from the field in the first half. They also forced 13 turnovers, while holding East Stroudsburg to 20 percent shooting from behind the arc. The Warriors leading scorer, senior DeAnna Rayam, only scored five points in the first half.
The Lady Rams shot 44.4 percent (12-27) from the field, 50 percent from behind the arc and 90.9 percent from the free throw line in the half. The hot shooting early on by West Chester helped them build their big lead throughout the half.
In the second half, the Lady Rams did not let up. West Chester pushed their lead to as many as 34 in the half to never let the Warriors back into the game.
The starting five for the Lady Rams, which includes Garber, Hostetter, Stewart, Adams and senior Renata Neal, all continued their success as they helped West Chester to the comfortable lead.
The reserves for the Lady Rams were able to get healthy minutes in the game. Meghan Kerrigan, Ashley Loper, Alex Lennon, Natalie Winters, Mary Kate Serratelli, Bridget Carlin, Shamyra Hammond, Jill Keefer, Lauren Commodari, Ambreelinne Ortman and Carly Strickland all played valuable minutes down the stretch that will help in their progression as West Chester winds down their conference schedule.
The Lady Rams shot an astounding 47.5 percent from the field, compared to 42 percent for the season. West Chester also forced 31 turnovers by the Warriors in the game.
Stewart had six steals, five assists and four rebounds. Garber and Lennon grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Garber also had a game-high three blocks.
East Stroudsburg outrebounded the Lady Rams 40-38. West Chester held the Warriors to 32.7 percent from the field for the game. Rayam, who scored 24 points and hit six three-pointers against the Lady Rams last year, finished with a team-high 11 points for the Warriors.
Last Wednesday, West Chester fell on the road to the Kutztown University Golden Bears 76-56 for their third conference loss, matching last year’s total for losses in the conference during the regular season.
The Lady Rams battled the first five minutes of the game with the Golden Bears before Kutztown was able to begin pulling away. The Golden Bears led by as many as 11 points in the first half as Rachel Wisemiller hit four three-pointers and led all scorers with 14 points in the half.
West Chester shot a paltry 24.1 percent from the field in the half, while Kutztown shot 50 percent from the field. Neal led the Lady Rams with eight points in the half.
The Lady Rams started the second half scoring the first eight points, cutting the Golden Bears lead to three points in two and a half minutes. That was the closest that West Chester got as Kutztown pulled away midway through the second half.
The Golden Bears stretched the lead to as many as 25 points in the final moments of the game. Wisemiller led all scorers with 19 points in the game. Three other Kutztown players, Chauntelle Schroeder (17 points), Kristen Murray (15 points) and Melissa McQuade (10 points) all finished in double figures.
Neal led the Lady Rams with 14 points. Garber added 13 points, five rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block. Hostetter finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
West Chester shot 29 percent from the field for the game, compared to the Golden Bears incredible 54.2 percent from the field.
CLEARING THE NOTEBOOK
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Allison Hostetter. The sophomore guard helped West Chester get their first road victory in conference play on Saturday against the Warriors. She averaged 11 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.5 assists and one block during the week. Hostetter has been “Ms. Everything” for the Lady Rams as she continues to develop into a complete player.
UPCOMING GAMES: This week West Chester hosts Shippensburg University on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Millersville University on Saturday at 1 p.m.
WHERE THEY STAND: After the first round of games in the PSAC East, West Chester sits in fourth place in the conference, two games behind first-place Millersville and one game behind Kutztown and Bloomsburg.
LJ Harrell is a fourth-year student majoring in Marketing. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.