Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Photo: Senior forward Emily McAteer. Photo via wcupagoldenrams.com

Wednesday night’s 64-59 win over Shippensburg University (SU) leaves West Chester University’s (WCU) women’s basketball team with a 20-5 overall record and 15-4 in conference play. SU beat WCU at home last January, and WCU has been on a 22-game win streak at home ever since. The Wednesday night victory also marks WCU’s first sweep over SU since the 2017-2018 season. 

After a win against Kutztown, where SU’s guard Treasure George reached 1,000 points, SU proved themselves a threat by keeping the game close and even leading WCU into halftime. The one-point lead at halftime marked the first time WCU has trailed at home in the 2023-2024 season. 

WCU Senior forward Emily McAteer scored the first points of the game with a successful pump fake and drive to the basket. WCU picked up the pace after a slow few minutes when junior guard Anna McTamney found fellow junior guard Morgan Warley cutting to the basket for a quick layup. McTamney put up the next points for WCU with a three-pointer to extend the lead. After the first quarter, the score was 12-7 with WCU on top. SU sophomore guard Elle Goodwin fought hard in the paint with a contested putback. WCU responded with a dish from senior guard Leah Johnson to McAteer in the lane. A few minutes later, McTamney made a fancy layup from underneath the basket. The rest of the half went back and forth, but SU sophomore forward Makayla Foddrell ended the half with a buzzer-beater four-point play to put SU up by one. WCU went into halftime down 28-27. Throughout the first half, there were six ties and five lead changes. 

“At halftime, we talked about rebounding/limiting second-chance opportunities and being in the correct defensive positions so we could get stops and stay out of foul trouble,” said WCU head coach Kiera Wooden. “On offense, we stressed executing by running sets with good spacing, showing patience, and finding the open person.” 

SU came out for the second half with two quick buckets while WCU was struggling to get their three-pointers to fall. They got back in sync shortly after when Johnson found McAteer under the basket for an easy layup. About three minutes into the quarter, McAteer put WCU back up by one in dramatic fashion with a deep three-pointer. Senior guard Briana Seltzer scored on a tough drive to the basket, but SU responded with the same play to keep the score close at 37-34. The Johnson-McAteer connection could not be stopped as McAteer continued to score, cutting in the lane. The score after the third quarter was 45-42, with WCU holding the 3-point lead. 

In the fourth quarter, SU fans became vocally aggravated with Johnson’s ability to create separation from her defender. With four minutes remaining, Warley stole the ball at the foul line and passed it to Johnson at half-court, who found McAteer under the basket for two points. Johnson got some points of her own on the next possession with a pump fake into a jump shot for two, making the score 56-48. The final minute consisted of a timeout after each possession as SU attempted to come back. However, they continued to foul McAteer, who was outstanding from the line. WCU was victorious, beating SU 64-59. McAteer led in scoring with 23 points, followed by Johnson with 15 and McTamney with 13.

Wednesday marked the last February game, so the team is getting ready for their playoff run in March. “We’ve already solidified a playoff berth but we’re fighting for the highest seed possible and an NCAA tournament bid,” Wooden told The Quad. “In order to do those things, we have to keep winning, so that’s what we are trying to do. Tonight was another step in accomplishing those goals.” 

Wooden went on to describe her team’s performance against SU. “We had moments of brilliance on both ends of the floor at times but other times we looked out of sync. We have to be able to sustain excellence on both offense and defense consistently and tonight we did not do that.” Wooden continued to explain that wins are not guaranteed to be pretty in February and March. “A lot of times you have to just gut them out and tonight we did that,” noted Wooden. She stated that the team will continue to work hard and improve. 

 


Rebecca Arnold is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Journalism. RA953057@wcupa.edu

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