Slow start dooms reeling Rock

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The Slippery Rock University women’s basketball team (5-14, 3-10 in PSAC) accounted for more turnovers (7) than it did points (6) in Saturday evening’s division matchup with Edinboro University (10-7, 8-5.) Ultimately, the Rock bowed to the Fighting Scots, 88-59, its 12th loss in 15 outings.

“This game was decided in the first quarter,” head coach Bobby McGraw said.

Slippery Rock dug itself into a 19-point hole in the frame, allowing the visitors to sink 11 of their first 17 shots in the first ten minutes. Meanwhile, McGraw’s team botched nine layups.

“I lost count of how many point-blank layups we missed,” McGraw said of the offensive struggles. “It’s one of those things and as a coach it gets frustrating. I can’t get you any closer to the basket. You’ve got to finish.”

Edinboro finished. In the first half alone, the visitors pulled down ten offensive rebounds, helping to score 15 second-chance points.

Offensively, the second quarter was a different story. Slippery Rock scored 25 points, its most in a quarter since pouring in 36 in the second period against Shepherd in early December.

Four Edinboro starters put up at least nine points in the first half, which was closed out by a 7-1 Edinboro run that pushed the lead to 16 points.

Junior guard Brittany Andrews scored five of her eight points in the fourth quarter. Each LeeAnn Gibson and Anyah Curd also dropped eight points.

Edinboro guard Michaela Barnes, who entered the contest contributing 23.4 points per game, a clip good enough for second in the PSAC, dropped 25 points. Forward Cheniya Sharpe, the conference’s top rebounder, posted 12 points and a game-high 10 boards.

Only junior guard Daeja Quick, with her 13 points, topped the 10-point threshold for the Rock. Senior guards Brooke Hinderliter and Madison Johnson, who entered Saturday averaging 19.8 and 14.9 points per game, respectively, combined for only 13 points.

“When we don’t get that production from them, we’re in trouble,” McGraw said of his two leading scorers.

With the outlook of playoffs leaning toward the improbable, McGraw wants to make sure that Hinderliter claims the spot atop the program’s all-time scoring list. Coming off of the third 30-point game of her collegiate career at Mercyhurst, Hinderliter finished the game against Edinboro with 1,563 points. At the moment, she sits 33 points shy of Kory Fielitz for second place and 97 behind leader Heather Kearney.

“She has worked as hard as any player I’ve ever seen. She deserves that record and we are going to get her that record,” McGraw said.

With the loss, its 6th-straight against the Fighting Scots, Slippery Rock hasn’t beaten Edinboro since January of 2017.

Over halfway through the schedule, the Rock still has not notched back-to-back victories. Winners of 10 of its last 11, Gannon will visit Wednesday.

“There are plenty of wins out there still left for us,” McGraw said, “but we’ve got to play harder than we did today.”

Brendan is a junior converged journalism major starting his first year on the Rocket staff, as Assistant Campus Life Editor. He previously covered multiple teams for the newspaper's sports section and campus events and club events. After graduation, Brendan hopes to write for a city newspaper covering a sports team.

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