Gannon shuts down Rock

Rebecca Dietrich

Freshman Kara Houppert sets up on defense against a California University of Pa. defender Feb. 1. Houppert scored six points Wednesday night against the Gannon University Golden Knights.

Matthew Morgan, Assistant Sports Editor
February 6, 2014

With their lowest scoring half under head coach Tanya Longo in her career at the Rock, the SRU women’s basketball (4-17, 1-10 PSAC) team fell to the nationally ranked Golden Knights of Gannon (21-1, 10-1 PSAC) on Wednesday evening, 71-39.

For the fifth time this season, the Rock spent no time in the lead during any time of the game.

The Green and White scored only 13 points in the first 20 minutes of play, facing a 36 – 13 halftime deficit.

“Gannon just came out with more fire from the jump,” freshman Kara Houppert said. “They created a lead we couldn’t come back from.”

Slippery Rock last faced Gannon on Dec. 4, a game that was decided in the final minute by only three points in Gannon’s favor. The two performances by SRU are near opposites.

“The difference in this game was that we had time to prepare, my team has gotten better since Dec. 4th and finally we are more committed to defense than we were,” Gannon head coach Jim Brunelli said.

SRU now holds a 1-7 record against Gannon under head coach Tanya Longo’s command.

Slippery Rock made only three shots from the field in the first half, another season low.

“I don’t think they brought their best game in our first meeting this season,” SRU head coach Tanya Longo said.

In the end, SRU shot 26.5 percent (13 or 49) from the field, 26.9 percent (7 of 26) from behind the arc and 42.9 percent (6 of 14) from the free throw line.

Sophomore Aidan Geise led the Rock with 11 points and eight rebounds, followed by junior D’Asia Chambers with seven points and Houppert with six.

Chambers currently holds a spot in three top-ten categories in PSAC statistics. She is fourth in points per game with 17, seventh in rebounds per game with 8.6 and seventh in shooting percentage from the field with a .512 percent.

Gannon shot 38 percent (27 of 71) from the field, 28.0 percent (7 of 25) from behind the arc and 55.6 percent (10 of 18) from the free throw line.

Junior Nettie Blake led the  Golden Knights with 14 points and seven rebounds, sophomore Morgan Neighbors added 14 points as well.

Gannon is ranked third in the nation in all Division II women’s basketball.

“We don’t talk about it, Brunelli said. “The only thing we talk about is getting better on defense. Tonight we executed the game plan extremely well and it showed.”

Slippery Rock looks to even the season series against the University of Pitt-Johnstown on Saturday at Morrow Field house. SRU dropped the last meeting 86-90 in double overtime on Dec. 7.

“Megan Hardimann was out for the last game against UPJ, so having our complete roster will help,” Longo said. “We have certainly grown as a team, as have they, everyone keeps bettering their game.”

Saturday will be the annual “Play 4Kay” breast cancer awareness game, as well as the Rock’s Senior Day Game.

Tip off between the Panthers and SRU is at 1 p.m.

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