In its first home game back since winter break, the Slippery Rock University women’s basketball team lost a crucial Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) game to Seton Hill University. The Griffins (11-9, 7-7) came into the game having lost four of their last five while The Rock (9-11, 6-8) was coming off a tough, one-point loss against Gannon University Wednesday.
Seton Hill was in sixth place in the PSAC and SRU occupied the seventh place, both vying for the sixth, and final, playoff spot with eight regular season games remaining.
Slippery Rock suffered a big blow early in the contest when the leading scorer in the conference, senior point guard Lexi Carpenter, needed to be taken out of the game within the first few minutes due to injury. Carpenter tried returning to the game a few times in the first half before having to sit out the entire second half.
SRU head coach Bobby McGraw said that Carpenter had a flexor muscle strain that she had suffered during the game against Gannon earlier in the week.
“It bothered her at Gannon, we had to pull her before the end of the game for an extra treatment,” McGraw said. “It bothered her in pregame and it was bothering her last night at practice and she was obviously a no-go today.”
The loss of Carpenter was especially big given how well she had been shooting the ball in the month of January. Carpenter had been averaging 27 points per game since Jan. 3, including a streak of four 30-plus point games.
“When you’re missing someone who can score the ball like Lexi, with the percentage of shots she’s making, it changes the game and someone else has to carry the load,” McGraw said. “C.C. Dixon did an unbelievable job today of carrying that load. But we needed a couple more and we just couldn’t get it done, but it was not due to a lack of effort.”
Without Carpenter, The Rock started slow on offense before closing the first quarter on a 9-0 run to lead 20-15 after 10 minutes.
The absence of Carpenter’s scoring ability caught up with The Rock eventually, as SRU shot only 30.8 and 31.3 percent in the second and fourth quarters, respectively. SHU made 13-36 three-pointers and pulled away in the second half, winning 74-63.
McGraw said that his team knew what the Griffins were going to try and do offensively, but they just could not stop them.
“We knew what they were going to do coming in, but we did a bad job of stopping them,” McGraw said. “It’s one thing to watch film and look at a scouting report, it’s another thing to physically stop the other team from doing what they do best and we did a very poor job of doing that today.”
Dixon, a junior, set a new career high with 20 points in the game and freshman guard Brooke Hinderliter chipped in 19 points in the losing effort. Dixon (9), Hinderliter (7) and junior Mallory Heinle (7) led the rebounding effort for Slippery Rock.