New talent on the court for the Rock
The Slippery Rock women’s basketball team opened their regular season last Friday at Morrow Field House with a nail biting victory over the Urbana University Blue Knights with a final score of 89-87. The 89-point mark is higher than any score achieved throughout last season.
SRU trailed the Blue Knights 85-80 with less than two minutes left in the game, going on a 9-2 run to close out the victory.
The eruption of scoring was capped off by a fade away jumper at the buzzer by junior Alexas Brown.
The Rock’s scorers were led by senior guard Erinne Cunningham with 24 points and sophomore forward D’Asia Chambers, tallying 21 points and six rebounds.
Brown had 14 points, including her game winning shot and eight assists.
Tension was high during the game with eight ties and five lead changes throughout the night.
Prior to tip-off of the regular season, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced its 2012-13 coaches poll predictions. Slippery Rock was voted to finish eighth in the conference, following a dismal 6-20 season.
The pre-season coaches poll doesn’t carry much weight in head coach Tanya Longo’s mind. Longo will be entering her third season as head coach of the women’s basketball program here at Slippery Rock.
“I’m not big on pre-season polls. We have the potential to win some games this season and our goals certainly include finishing above eighth place in the PSAC.” Longo said.
With only one returning player from last season’s starting five, senior Erinne Cunningham will be playing alongside a brand new core of teammates.
Along with Cunningham, returning players include Chambers, Emilee Vitez, Christa Wodarcyzk, Katie Rathman, Bridget McClure and Danielle Garoutte.
“We have a lot of talented players who can be impactful and we select the five who we feel will give our team the best start in the game. It could be different each game if need be.” Longo said.
Five true freshmen along with five transfer students will be accompanying the seven returning players.
On Tuesday night the ladies traveled to West Virginia for a non-conference game against the Wheeling Jesuit University Cardinals.
Capped off by a 9-0 run by the Cardinals, The Rock was dealt its first loss of the season, 59-56, bringing their record this season to 1-1.
Four of the Rock’s players posted double-digit scores, led by Chambers with 14 points.
Junior Jazmyne Frost had her first double-double as a player at SRU with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Brown supplied 14 points towards the losing effort and Garoutte pitched in 10 points playing off of the bench.
Only one of the five starters from WJU scored more than three points. Nearly all of their points came off the bench, with only 14 of the 59 points scored coming from the starting five.
Longo is excited for all the new talent that has been put into the program.
“Our goal is to work hard and work together so we can improve every day,” Longo said. “Our success hinges on our growth and team chemistry as a unit. With so many new faces on the roster, I am very excited about our potential and where it will take us.”
Slippery Rock will play its next game on the road as well tomorrow at University of Charleston against the Golden Eagles.