Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

T

he West Chester University Lady Rams ended their regular season with a come-from-behind win against East Stroudsburg University on Wednesday night, 75-69. A tough matchup for the team, West Chester showed their strength overcoming a 17-point deficit in the second half to prevail to the win. WCU finished the game on a 32-19 run, on the shoulders of junior Kendall Benovy and sophomore Dallas Ely.

West Chester struggled throughout the first half; only holding a small lead until ESU took control with 5 minutes left in the first half. Shooting struggles from the Rams held them back through the first 20 minutes, and ESU took advantage. At half, the Rams trailed by 13 points, 39-26. Ely was held scoreless through the first half, which has only happened one other time this season. Sophomore captain Brittany Sicinski struggled in the first half as well, along with the whole Rams team.

The second half started out much like the first, with ESU dominating. The lead grew to 17 points just three minutes into the second half and stayed strong through the first eight minutes of the half. With 12 minutes left, WCU began their run. Benovy continued her efficient shooting and Ely dropped 11 out of 15 free throws down the stretch to bring WCU back into the game. The last six minutes was a back and forth battle for the lead, but good free throw shooting from Ely and sophomore Anna Kuntz gave the Rams the lead and ultimately the win.

The late game run was an excellent momentum booster moving into playoffs just a few days away. With just under 10 minutes left, a pair of Ely free throws cut the lead to single digits for the first time since mid way through the first half. The Rams crept back through the next six minutes by shooting great from the charity stripe and some key layups from Benovy, Sicinski, and Kuntz. The clutch factor from the free throw line surely proved this young team is ready for the pressure and intensity that comes in the PSAC playoffs.

WCU enters the weekend as the second seeded team, Saturday’s game between Shippensburg University and Kutztown University would determine who the Rams would see on Tuesday night. West Chester has had major success against Kutztown this year, winning both of the teams meetings. Shippensburg and WCU split their season series, WCU winning by one at Shippensburg and Shippensburg beating the Rams by 15 at home. Clearly, the Rams hoped for a surprise win from Kutztown on Saturday against an extremely talented Shippensburg squad.

The Rams got exactly what they were hoping for: a surprise. Kutztown pulled out the huge upset win Saturday afternoon against Shippensburg in an 83-74 win for the Golden Bears. Freshman guard Kara Funk scored 17 points and went 13-14 from the line for KU in the upset win. Kutztown will now travel to West Chester to face off with the Rams on Tuesday night for a trip to the final four hosted at Edinboro University.

The extremely successful regular season for the Rams has been a pleasure to watch. Many come-from-behind wins and dominating games has made this team an exciting squad to follow since day one. The young and scrappy starting line-up has certainly proved they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs, and in years to come. West Chester’s young stars Sicinski and Ely both posted excellent numbers all season, Ely passing 500 points on the season and Sicinski just on the verge of 400. Kuntz has also emerged as a prominent player after not seeing much time last year. Benovy and Clark have been solid all season, playing not only great on the court, but also emerging as locker room leaders.

As Tuesday approaches and the Rams prepare for the tough matchup ahead, the key will be consistency. In the beginning of the season, Clark explained,“we work extremely well with one another.” If the Rams can continue their extraordinary chemistry and team play through the playoffs, be prepared to see this young squad make a run at the PSAC title.

AJ Arcaini is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA 788494@wcupa.edu

Author profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *