After tying the game with nearly 11 minutes remaining in the second half, the SRU women’s basketball team (4-18, 1-11 PSAC) failed to keep up with the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Mountain Cats (8-14, 5-7 PSAC) down the stretch and suffered their fifth consecutive loss, 76-60.
The Rock could not come up with the necessary stops on defense or successfully put the ball in the hoop in the final nine minutes.
The Mountain Cats held a solid lead throughout the majority of the first half, closing the first twenty minutes of play with a nine-point lead on SRU.
Junior D’Asia Chambers, the leading scorer for SRU, finished the first half with only three points and a band-aid on her right pointer finger.
The Green and White battled back in the second half, closing the lead until the game was tied at 49-49 with 10:51 remaining in the contest.
The Mountain Cats took the tie as a wake up call and returned to the same success they had in the first half, closing the game on a 27-11 run.
“The main thing we did was make some good decisions and not turn the ball over,” UPJ first-year head coach Mike Drahos said. “Most games come down to rebounding and turnovers and we did a great job of rebounding down the stretch.”
SRU actually out-rebounded UPJ 45-39 overall and had only three more turnovers than the Mountain Cats, 20-17.
Slippery Rock shot 32.8 percent (21 of 64) from the field on Saturday. SRU attempted nineteen three-point shots but could only sink four of them (21.1 percent). The Rock also struggled from the free throw line, shooting a 63.6 percent (14 of 22).
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well,” head coach Tanya Longo said. “We had lots of open looks, they just made a heck of a lot more shots than we did.”
UPJ had a better night across the statistics board in comparison to SRU. The Mountain Cats shot 41.5 percent (27 of 65) and 37.9 percent (11 of 29) from behind the arc. UPJ only missed two of their free throws Saturday afternoon, shooting 84.6 percent (11 of 13) from the line.
“Our main problem was that we were not scoring well,” sophomore Aidan Geise said. “And then once we started scoring it was too late.”
Saturday marked the annual “Play 4 Kay” breast cancer awareness game as well as the annual Senior Day. Fans showed up clad in pink attire in support of the cause.
Seniors Katie Rathman and Jazmyne Frost were both honored prior to the beginning of the game, Rathman, a four-year Rock player also got her first career start on Senior Day.
“I hope they have enjoyed being part of this team,” coach Longo said. “Hopefully they have gained some lifetime friendships, things they can take away as they move on in their professional life.”
After a slow first half, Chambers returned to regular form and scored 13 points in the second half, ending the game with a total of 16 points and six rebounds.
Frost, on her Senior Day, finished the game with 12 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Megan Hardiman finished with eight points and four rebounds, prior to foulding out with 27 seconds remaining in play.
Junior Nicole Carman led with 19 points and eight rebounds for Pitt-Johnstown.
“I was really proud of her game today,” coach Drahos said. “Didn’t force anything. She had some big rebounds for us down the stretch.”
Sophomore Leah Hansen finished 15 points, one point ahead of sophomore Jasmine Harper who finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
The Rock will look to snap their most recent losing streak on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. against the Mercyhurst University Lakers in Eria, Pa.