A late rally in the fourth quarter to cut a 13-point lead to just five points in a 23-second span was not enough for Rock women’s basketball (11-11 overall, 7-9 PSAC) to overcome Edinboro (16-7 overall, 11-6 PSAC) in a 78-70 loss at home Wednesday evening.
According to Rock head coach Bobby McGraw, the team had to intentionally foul the Fighting Scots in the final minute to try and cut their lead down.
“A strategic move like that is no fun to watch, but at the same time we cut eight points off their lead in 28 seconds,” McGraw said. “The team never quit, but that loss is tough because now our game this upcoming Saturday is an absolute must-win.”
Despite almost coming back from behind, SRU’s biggest loss of the game came just seconds before the first half ended as junior guard Audrey Stapleton went down what appeared to be a significant knee injury.
“Audrey is such a tremendous shooter but people don’t realize just how good of a defender she really is,” McGraw said. “Depending on the type of defensive situation, she’s arguably our best defender. It’s a huge loss. You always hear the term ‘next woman up’ and we have women sitting our bench that have been itching to get into games. Krista Pietropola is going to have to fill Audrey’s spot offensively for us. Defensively, we’ll probably have to switch to a zone.”
Sophomore Ciara Patterson drilled four three pointers from beyond the three-point arc to lead The Rock in scoring with 19 points. Junior guard Lexi Carpenter scored 15 while leading the team in assists with four. Senior forward Megan Hardiman scored 11 points while shooting perfect from the foul line in six attempts.
Freshman forward Morgan Henderson scored 10 points as well, her second-highest scoring total in her short career thus far at The Rock.
Although Slippery Rock held the Fighting Scots to a 33.3 percent field goal percentage, Edinboro scored 36 points from the foul line. In fact, SRU shot a higher percentage from the field at 40.4 percent, along with shooting 43.8 percent from three-point territory.
“There was definitely an issue with how many times we allowed them to get to the free throw line,” McGraw said. “At the end of the game we had to foul intentionally for strategic reasons, but at the end of the day Edinboro shot a lot of free throws and they shot them well. It’s when thing to shoot a bunch of free throws and miss a bunch of them, but it’s another thing when you shoot a bunch and you make them. We have to give them credit.”
SRU looks to get back on track as it heads south to Seton Hill to face the Griffins (12-10 overall, 8-8 PSAC) on Saturday at 1 p.m.