West Chester University’s Lady Rams basketball team entered an extremely important week with only one game approaching instead of the normal Wednesday and Saturday combination of games. Wednesday night arrived featuring a top team match up between West Chester University and Bloomsburg University. This game held high expectations, not only because of the intense rivalry between the two, but what this game meant for both teams. Winner takes control of the PSAC East, after WCU holding their ground and controlling for the larger part of the season. A win for either team puts them in control of the division with just a few games left to play.
This game would be much different then some of the competition the Rams have seen recently. The Rams were also coming off of a tough loss to Shippensburg University last Saturday, 95-80, where Shippensburg put on a shooting clinic in Hollinger Field House. The Rams looked to turn around from the tough loss, and get back to their winning ways, which they were doing wonderfully before last Saturday when their six-game win streak was snapped.
Bloomsburg entered Saturday with an outstanding 20-3 record (11-2 PSAC) but was out edged in PSAC standings by West Chester’s 17-8 record (12-2 PSAC). Bloomsburg is certainly a force to be noticed this season though, ranking in USA Today’s Top 25 in Division II Sports. Clearly, this game would be an extremely difficult challenge for the Rams, something that is good for the team with playoffs just around the corner.
West Chester had tons of trouble finding a good rhythm and trouble stopping the three-balls from Bloomsburg guard Catherine Noack, who hit 3-4 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes.
West Chester shot a rough 28% from the field in the first half, and only hitting two three-pointers on 13 attempts. This all comes out of context for an extremely efficient WCU lineup. These shooting struggles would be tough to overcome in the second half, and left West Chester trailing by nine at the half, 31-22.
Second half play began and West Chester still could not find the energy or rhythm they needed. WCU’s shooting percentage rose up to 35%, but their three-point percentage dropped drastically. In seven attempts in the second half the Rams did not hit one three-pointer. WCU won the battle on the glass in both halves, also had less turnovers, but these shooting difficulties proved to be too much for the Rams to overcome. The final score read 66-58 in favor of Bloomsburg, giving the Huskies the win and control of the PSAC East.
One bright spot for the Rams was the play of junior forwards Kendall Benovy and Serifat Junaid. Benovy was 7-11 from the field with 19 points and six rebounds. Junaid shot 5-8 with 11 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Dallas Ely also scored 15 points, but had a rough shooting night, going 4-17 from the field. Sophomore Captain Brittany Sicinski struggled with just six, points while sophomores Anna Kuntz and Jasmen Clark both registered no points.
The stat line from this game certainly does not show the real Lady Rams, nor define them. We have seen the resilience and fight in this squad all season and will for sure see it again as they bounce back and prepare for playoffs. Next up for the Rams is East Stroudsburg University on Wednesday night. West Chester recorded a win in their last matchup versus ESU, 83-68. The Lady Rams will certainly set themselves back on track and be ready for another PSAC matchup on Wednesday night.
AJ Arcaini is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu