History has a funny way of repeating itself.
The West Chester Women’s basketball team certainly hopes it does this season.
On Feb. 11, WCU needed an extra five minute overtime to take down then ranked no. 16 Bloomsburg. Dallas Ely recorded a game-high 25 points while Jasmen Clark trailed close behind with a career-high 22. Captain Serifat Junaid stepped to the free-throw line with 12 seconds remaining and knocked down a pair of clutch foul shots to seal the deal for the underdog Golden Rams.
The Rams held a 19-point at one point early in the second half, but slowly watched Marla Simmons and the Huskies creep their way back into the game. Fortunately, the Rams were able to hold on and eventually pull off the win thanks to strong rebounding and clutch trips to the charity stripe.
The Lady Rams locked up their first 20-win season in two years with a 67-51 win over East Stroudsburg at Hollinger Field House on Wednesday. The last time the West Chester women won 20 games in a season (2011-2012) was also the last time the team was in the NCAA tournament.
West Chester cruised against visiting East Stroudsburg to the tune of 17 points from Ely and 11 points from breakout forward Serifat Junaid. Jessica Martin’s game-high 23 points weren’t enough for the Warriors.
In the first half, Martin was able to keep the Warriors within striking distance, countering the triple scoring threat of Junaid, Ely, and Brittany Sicinski for the Golden Rams. Martin’s effort was enough to keep the score close at halftime, with West Chester holding a 29-21 lead.
Looking to pull away, the Lady Rams wasted no time in extending their lead in the second half.
The first eight minutes of play in the second half saw West Chester erupt on a 15-6 run to build up a 17 point advantage with little over ten minutes to play.
Ely was a consistent threat from the field while Junaid provided yet another dominating performance in the paint, adding six rebounds to her 11 points that night.
Sicinski finished with an efficient line of seven points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
While the offense lit up the scoreboard, the defense did its part to slow the Warriors’ attack led by Martin. West Chester harassed the Warriors offense from start to finish and compiled 19 steals for the game and holding the entire East Stroudsburg roster – with the exception of Martin – to no more than five points on the night.
The timely turnovers and poor shooting from East Stroudsburg (35% from the field and 2-16 from 3-point range) were the major factors in the Lady Rams’ dominating performance.
The win secured the first 20-win season in two years for West Chester. It’s also the first time the Lady Rams have had 20 wins since they made the 2012 NCAA Division II tournament. West Chester was eliminated in the first round by PSAC rival Edinboro who also knocked the Lady Rams out of the PSAC tournament in the semifinals.
So let’s hope history repeats itself – just a little differently this time.
Cullen Wright is a third-year student majoring in communications. He can be reached at CW830391@wcupa.edu