Slippery Rock denied playoff berth

Published by adviser, Author: Matthew Morgan - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 14, 2013
Freshman Erica Aiello looks down the court during Wednesday’s game against Lock Haven University. Aiello contributed nine points and two assists for the Rock.

On Wednesday night, the Slippery Rock University women’s basketball team welcomed the Lock Haven Lady Eagles (6-15, 3-14 PSAC) to the Morrow Fieldhouse for a PSAC-West match.

Another consecutive nail-biter for fans of either team, the game had eight ties and eight lead changes as well as featuring an 80-80 tie with 1:50 to go in the game.

With season highs in field goal attempts (84) and rebounds (59), the Rock made a strong case for themselves down to the final horn of regulation.

“We have really been focusing on playing the entire game at our pace,” head coach Tanya Longo said about the preparation leading up to the home game.

“When you have more possessions in a game, you have more opportunities to score. Our depth is an asset we were able to use last night to help with that pace and offensive attack.”

The Lady Eagles offense and defensed outlasted the Rock in the final minutes of regulation, leading to a 90-86 loss for the home team.

Junior Alexas Brown returned to the Rock’s lineup after missing three games and demonstrated her high level of skill with a 26 point showing to lead all scorers.

Senior Erinne Cunningham scored

double figures with 18 points and freshman Megan Hardiman put up nine points and pulled down nine rebounds.

Several of the last few contests have been lost in the final minutes of regulation.

“Experience in those scenarios and reviewing game film after is the best teaching tool for our roster of freshman and newcomers this season,” Longo said in response to the short trend of late regulation losses.  “A couple games ago it was the last eight minutes and last night it was the last two minutes. With continued focus we’ll put together a full 40 minute game as we progress.”

Unfortunately, with Wednesday’s loss the Rock becomes statistically eliminated from PSAC playoff contention (3-15 PSAC).

Last Saturday, the ladies traveled 80 miles north to Mercyhurst University (6-14, 6-10 PSAC) for a PSAC-West battle.

With 15 ties in the game and 11 lead changes, the contest remained heated down to the last few minutes of regulation where the lead slowly slipped out of the Rock’s reach.

The long bus ride north proved to be less fruitful than the team had hoped for, dropping the contest 80-72 against the Lady Lakers.

“They (Mercyhurst) shot the ball very well throughout the game,” Coach Longo said. “We also shot the ball very well too. It was a positive game on offense but a little disappointing on the defensive end.”

At the end of the first half the Rock and the Lady Lakers were deadlocked at 45 points each going to their respective locker rooms.

Following this explosion of scoring; however, both teams picked up the defense in the second half leading to a significantly lower point total of 27 points for the Rock and 35 for Mercyhurst.

“On the offensive end we threw the ball away too much,” said Coach Longo when asked about the drop off in scoring. “We did a pretty nice job on several possessions defensively with our full court pressure. But just too many turnovers to win.”

Cunningham led the Rock with a game high 22-point output.

Freshman Erica Aiello tallied 14 points and dished out four assists while senior Christa Wodarczyk contributed 13 points.

Sophomore D’Asia Chambers just missed a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds.

With four games remaining in the season, the Rock will welcome Edinboro on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Morrow Fieldhouse.

This will be the annual “Hooping for a Cure” game and all fans who wear pink will be admitted for free.


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