Photo credits: Tom Silknitter via wcupagoldenrams.com
West Chester University’s women’s basketball team has put together an impressive season thus far, clinching their first winning record since the 2018-2019 campaign.
As it stands, the Golden Rams are currently 17-7 and hold a slim lead over Shippensburg for the number one seed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East division. The team has won ten straight games, with their most recent loss coming from the aforementioned Shippensburg on Jan. 11. West Chester has rattled off impressive victories against conference foes such as Millersville, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown and Shepherd, the latter of which was a 47-point blowout win on Jan. 23.
West Chester has played exceptionally well this year in all aspects as they are outscoring their opponents by a combined 208 points (1809-1601). They are shooting 44% from the field, compared to just 39% from the opposition. The Golden Rams are doing a great job of sharing the basketball as well as they have racked up 389 assists compared to just 338 allowed (a difference of 2.2 per game).
Most recently, West Chester played host to East Stroudsburg at Hollinger Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The Golden Rams got off to a great start in the first half with a 12-point lead heading into the halftime intermission. The second half was a closer affair with West Chester outscoring East Stroudsburg 35-32, en route to a 72-54 victory.
Michelle Kozicki, a sophomore forward from Wilmington, had an impressive all around performance for the Golden Rams, tying the team lead with 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds, three steals and two assists. Kozicki is averaging 14 points and 8.5 rebounds per game on the season, the latter of which ranks first on the team. Emily McAteer, a junior forward from Thornton, also added 17 points for West Chester on 6-11 shooting. McAteer was clutch from the charity strike, sinking all three of her free throws. Leah Johnson, a junior from Columbus, was a big facilitator for the Rams in the win. She added seven assists to go along with 10 points and four rebounds over 37 minutes of action. Johnson ranks second on the team behind McAteer (16.1) with 15.3 points per game.
With the win, West Chester have officially clinched a spot in the PSAC Tournament. This will be the first time the Rams have played in the tournament since a narrow loss at the hands of Shepherd last season.
Looking ahead, the Golden Rams have four games remaining in the regular season. They will travel to West Virginia on Wednesday, Feb. 15 to take on Shepherd University in a rematch of last year’s PSAC Tournament matchup. Following this they will return home for their final two home games of the campaign against Lock Haven and Millersville on Feb. 18 and Feb. 22. The team will wrap up season play on the road against Bloomsburg on Feb. 25. With the PSAC East division race as tight as it is, each game will be important for West Chester as they look to lock up the number one seed and clinch home court advantage during the postseason.
For more information on West Chester’s push towards the postseason, visit the Golden Rams Athletics website for schedules, rosters, ticket sales and much more.
Erick Klambara is a Fourth Year MDC Major; Minor in Journalism EK924666@wcupa.edu