In a game that came down until the final buzzer, The Rock women’s basketball team ( 13-14, 9-12 PSAC) came away with a win over Gannon (16-9, 14-7 PSAC) on Saturday night, winning at Morrow Field House 62-53.
This win comes at a great time as Slippery Rock is searching for a chance to compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament. SRU head coach Bobby McGraw knows what the team must do to get in the tournament, but that’s not all the team is looking to achieve.
“There are two huge goals in hand for us right now,” McGraw said. “Number one is beat UPJ, which is our number one focus whether we make the playoffs or not. We’ll finish the regular season at 14-14, our first time having a non-losing record for this program since 2001. We’re going over there with the goal to beat them.”
Junior guard Lexi Carpenter continues her impressive season as she led all scorers with 23 points, while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out four assists. Senior forward Megan Hardiman followed with 12 points and four rebounds, while sophomore Ciara Patterson was not far behind with 11 points and recorded two steals. Sophomore forward Mallory Heinle rounded out the top scorers for The Rock dropping six points.
With a 1:30 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, The Rock was ready to put the game away and seal a victory. Carpenter made a clutch three-pointer and made an impressive bucket in the paint, and Patterson had a huge steal to secure the win for SRU.
“The last minute thirty felt great, leading up to that didn’t feel so good,” McGraw said. “Gannon has tremendous players, and great coaches. It’s cliche to say but this game was not over until the final buzzer. With Lexi hitting that three and Ciara getting that steal, I knew we had a really good chance at winning this game. This program has never swept Gannon and it felt great.”
Under Coach McGraw, the team will have a chance to get to that 14-14 record they want to achieve. McGraw gives all the credit to his players and his coaching staff for getting the program back to its current state.
“The first thing we have on the walls in the locker room are three words: players win games,” McGraw. “We brought in good players, and it’s fitting that the game was put away by Lexi and Ciara. They’re our two best players we brought in, and we have a good mix of new and old on our team. We’ve lost games we shouldn’t have, we shouldn’t have been in this position but it is what is it.
This game was emotional for everyone as SRU seniors played their final game at the Morrow Field House. Players, parents, fans and especially coaches could feel the emotion on the court.
“It was very emotional before the game started because I’ve spent more time with three of those seniors than my own family,” McGraw said. “Erica, Becca and Megan were here when it was my first year as an assistant, and last year when I didn’t know if I was gonna have a job in May. To send them off with a win on their home court for the final time meant a lot.”
The Rock will finish up its regular season of play on Wednesday against Pitt-Johnstown, with tip-off set for 5:30 p.m. This is another must-win game for SRU, as they look to finish in the sixth and final spot in the PSAC postseason tournament.