Over the last three seasons the West Chester University women’s basketball team has become excellent at accomplishing three things during the month of January.In fact, these three things are becoming almost automatic.
First, every year a freshman player on the team usually starts to establish herself as a legitimate player, one who can really be counted on as a key contributor come playoff time.
Second, Head Coach Deirdre Kane diagrams opening plays in which the basketball is put into the hands of the team’s best pure shooter.
Third, the Lady Golden Rams always find a way to defeat Cheyney.
Those three things were again on display last week as host West Chester rolled past Cheyney by a score of 96-75, defeating the visiting Wolves for the 26th consecutive time. West Chester is currently 9-9; 4-0 PSAC Easton for the season, while Cheyney falls to 4-14; 0-4 PSAC East for the year. “I think you certainly look at a program like West Chester and you try to step it up to their level. But you have to play good consistent basketball and we didn’t do that tonight,” said dejected Cheyney Head Coach Tara Owens.
Golden Ram sophomore sensation Elise McCloy notched a career high 28 points and freshman Justine Pfaff added 12 points to lead five West Chester players in double digit scoring.
“I feel things are starting to come along especially with guard Melinda Fife looking like her old self,” said Kane referring to how her team is playing better since key players are coming back healthy.
The West Chester starting five were in control against Cheyney as starting guards Kiesha Mack (19 points), and Shauna Palmer (13 points), converted perimeter shots. In fact, Mack, a crowd favorite moved into second place all-time with 140 career three-pointers made.
Center Carolyn Muldoon, a product of Interboro High School, also played solid, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds. However, the night was clearly head-lined by the starting small forward McCloy who canned four shots beyond the three-point arc, shot 6-6 on the foul line, and 9-14 overall from the floor.
“This is my first year in a starting role so I’m still nervous but I do feel like I’m getting more and more comfortable out there,” said McCloy.
Then there is freshman Justine Pfaff who showed why she is a top notch newcomer who should help come play-off time. “Pfaff showed a little bit more tonight why she’s a big weapon. She and freshman Staci O’Byle are steady players. They are getting quality minutes, getting real comfortable; they’re going to help us as we make a little run here. And of course they give us a little look into the future and it’s exciting,” said Kane.
January is always exciting for Coach Kane and company. As is the month of March, but we’re not going to go there just yet. This Wednesday the Golden Rams will host Kutztown at home in Hollinger Field house at 6 p.m.