Lexi Carpenter’s 28-point outing wasn’t enough to lift The Rock women’s basketball team (10-10 overall, 7-8 PSAC) over Mercyhurst (10-11 overall, 8-7 PSAC) Wednesday evening, dropping the contest 83-78 for SRU’s eighth conference loss.
Carpenter, whose 28 points are a career high, saw 34 minutes of action, while adding three assists. The junior was also able to tally one block. 21 of her 28 points were scored in the second half alone.
The other two Slippery Rock players to score in double figures were junior guard Audrey Stapleton and sophomore Ciara Patterson. Stapleton scored 13 and gathered two steals while Patterson scored 11 points and dished out four assists and three steals.
“We just gave up entirely too many points last night,” Rock head coach Bobby McGraw said. “We did what it took to win offensively. But when you get out-rebounded by 10 and give up 80 points, nine out of 10 times you’re going to lose that game.”
Senior point guard Erica Aiello was able to put up just five points but tied the team in assists with Patterson at four. Aiello was also able to steal the ball once in her 26 minutes of action.
As a team, SRU shot 43.2 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from three-point range. However, The Rock was unable to win the rebounding battle as the Lakers led 39-29 on the boards and outscored the Green and White in second-chance points with by 12. SRU’s rebounding effort changed dramatically since its big 72-65 win over third place Gannon Sunday, tying the Golden Knights at 42 rebounds and holding them to just eight second-chance points.
“Our ability to shoot the basketball has increased greatly over the course of the season,” McGraw said. “We can’t tie a third place team in rebounds and hold them to just 65 points and then without changing anything strategically in our game plan and give up 83 points to Mercyhurst.”
On the other side of the ball, the Lakers were paced by juniors Natalie Piagessi and Angela Heintz. Piagessi led Mercyhurst’s scoring with 26 points, two assists and a block. Heintz finished just one point behind Piagessi at 25 but led the Lakers in total minutes played at 39.
“We could sit here and watch film of the Cleveland Cavaliers for 50 straight hours and give the team a full scouting report, but no matter what you’re not going to be able to stop the Cavaliers,” McGraw said. “Natalie Piagessi is that type of player. She’s dynamic from the five spot and came from a very good high school program. I voted for her to be all-conference last season for a reason, and she and Heintz were high school teammates at Seton-LaSalle. We did a better job stopping Heintz in the second half by utilizing the scouting report and running her off of the three-point line.”
Junior Jalin Steel was also able to collect 16 points for Mercyhurst, while busting two Rock possessions with two steals.
The Rock’s season continues Saturday as it will face a non-conference opponent in Point Park University (15-7 overall, 8-3 KIAC).
“This will be Point Park’s ‘Super Bowl’,” McGraw said. “They want to beat a PSAC school. They’ll be excited if they can do that, and we don’t want to let it happen.”
Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at SRU’s Morrow Field House.