The West Chester University women’s basketball team entered the season ranked 25th in the nation in the division II national coaches poll.
Unfortunately, things haven’t quite started as planned.
Returning eight seniors, the Golden Rams have a shot to make some noise this season with the strong chemistry they bring to the court. But their season started on a low note this past weekend dropping one of two in the Carol Eckman Memorial tournament, hosted at Hollinger Field House, and then dropping another out of two in their first two PSAC games.
First, the Lady Rams opened their season with Lincoln University as part of the Carol Eckman Tournament. After keeping a tight score throughout three quarters, West Chester watched the win slip away in the fourth quarter, resulting in an upset win for Lincoln. West Chester went to their coveted 3-point specialists in the second half in an attempt to come back, but shot just 26.1 percent from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes. Ultimately, Lincoln was able to pull off the upset victory on the Lady Rams, 64-54.
West Chester was able to bounce back the next day, with an 80-67 victory of Central State University. Despite grabbing their first win of the victory, the Lady Rams still did not play their best basketball. The team finished under 40 percent from the field, but was able to raise their 3-point percentage from last game to 35.7 percent. Five Lady Rams finished in double figures, including seniors Dallas Ely, Brittany Sicinski, Jasmen Clark, Kendall Benovy, and Porscha Speller. It was a solid game from the returning seniors to secure the win.
Next up for the Lady Rams came the first conference match-up with Lock Haven. Sicinski led the way for West Chester with 16 points, while also adding four assists, four rebounds, three steals and a block. Senior Anna Kuntz reached double figures for the first time this season with 15 points while also grabbing eight rebounds. Despite shooting an ugly 15.4 percent from the3-point arc, West Chester was able to overcome by shooting just under 48 percent from the field overall on the game. The ultimate game changer came from the points off turnover battle, where West Chester was able to score 22 points off of 19 turnovers compared to Lock Haven’s nine points off of 15.
In their final match up of the opening week, the Lady Rams fell at the hands of University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on the road, 64-69. Entering the season, West Chester had hoped for their shooting to be a strong point in their game, especially with returning stars like Ely, Sicinski, and Clark. Through the first three games, and especially the match up against UPJ, shooting has killed the Lady Rams. WCU finished at a measly 33.8 percent from the field and 15 percent from behind the arc on Saturday. Although UPJ did not shoot that much better, West Chester was not able to overcome their 1-9 shooting from range in the second half.
Sicinski put on another powerful performance to add to her impressive early season individual campaign, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, but it wasn’t enough to outweigh the 26 turnovers coughed up by the Lady Rams.
Things haven’t started as expected, but that doesn’t mean the Lady Rams can’t fight back. With the advantage of a veteran-starting lineup that has played together for three seasons, West Chester looked to get back on track on Sunday in a tough match-up with Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the game had not been played before publication. After IUP, the Lady Rams have to wait a week before getting another stab at a victory, facing off with another Philadelphia-area team, Holy Family University.
AJ Arcaini is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA788494@wcupa.edu.