The West Chester University women’s basketball team prepares for the regular season finale in control of their own destiny.
The Golden Rams post a record of 19-6 and 16-5 in the PSAC standings. They have one remaining regular season game against Kutztown on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. Shippensburg remains one game out of first place with one game remaining in their regular season.
Either way, West Chester has secured a first round bye and a home quarterfinal game. They are really looking for that number one seed and home court advantage throughout the entire tournament.
They could have secured that on Saturday, Feb. 20, with a win against Millersville. However, they fell short 79-70. After winning 11 straight games, the Golden Rams could not find a way to recover after a 16-point first half deficit.
West Chester could not find their rhythm offensively as they shot 30 percent from the field. Dallas Ely was the only one that could find a consistent look from the field. She shot 9-18 from the field, including six three-pointers. Ely finished with 27 points, which catapulted her into first place and now officially the all-time leading scorer in West Chester women’s basketball history.
Brittany Sicinksi added 17 points of her own, which puts her only nine points behind becoming the second all-time leading scorer, and only 14 points behind her current teammate Ely.
But both of those players know they would have much rather had found a way to secure a victory and home-court advantage. Especially after coming off 11 straight victories, including three victories in the last week and a half that consisted of a road victory against East Stroudsburg. The Warriors took the Golden Rams to overtime but West Chester found a way to win, 85-77. Sicinksi had 28 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Anna Kuntz recorded 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Golden Rams.
They then returned home to face a gritty Mansfield team who just would not quit, and it took a late fourth quarter push to fend off the comeback as West Chester took care of business, 81-71. Kendall Benovy led the Rams with 21 points, and she was one of the five starters that scored double figures in the game. The team really found a way to get everyone involved, and it was the epitome of a team victory.
West Chester had one more match-up against Cheyney, a team that has struggled throughout the season but are coming off one of the bigger victories in their program for the past few years. Cheyney was coming of a victory of second place Shippensburg, 64-62. They then followed that victory up with a strong win against Kutztown, 78-62. West Chester had their hands full, facing a team with confidence after big back-to-back wins. Even though West Chester did not play their strongest game, they were able to squeak out a 10-point victory, 57-47. Kuntz led the Rams with another huge double-double, 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Now that West Chester’s second longest win streak in program history is snapped, they must refocus on the main goal, home-court advantage and playing their best basketball during the most important time of the season. The Golden Rams are hoping this loss is more of a hiccup than anything else.
Ryan Calpin is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa.edu.