Missing two key players and being on the road, the Slippery Rock University women’s basketball team was fighting an uphill battle Saturday against the Indiana University (Pa.) Crimson Hawks.
The Rock, coming into this game having lost five of their last six, were without their team captain, senior point guard Lexi Carpenter, for the third straight game. Carpenter is the leading scorer in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) this year, scoring 19.1 points per game this season.
Sophomore center Morgan Henderson was also limited, playing only four minutes. Rock head coach Bobby McGraw said Henderson had been dealing with an illness after the team’s previous game against California (Pa.) on Wednesday.
Without Carpenter to play the point and Henderson to play center, The Rock was going to need players to step up in both the front and back courts if they were to have any hope of beating IUP on the road.
Freshman guard Brooke Hinderliter would have been the obvious answer to account for Carpenter’s absence. Hinderliter is averaging 10.2 points per game and often plays shooting guard alongside Carpenter in The Rock back court. Hinderliter played well, scoring seven points with four assists and four rebounds, but was unable to produce offensively the same way that Carpenter does.
The player that really stepped up for SRU was junior guard Sierra Fordham. Fordham came in off the bench to score 14 points in 29 minutes, providing a boost that The Rock needed.
Also stepping up for Slippery Rock was junior forward C.C. Dixon. Dixon scored a career high 24 points and pulled in a team-high six rebounds playing in the front court.
With the big games from Fordham and Dixon, Slippery Rock was able to play IUP evenly through the first half, trailing by only one at halftime. IUP would really pull away late in the third and into the quarter, outscoring The Rock 33-11 and 27-18 in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
The game ended in a 105-73 IUP win, the first time the team has given up more than 100 points in McGraw’s three-year tenure.
The game was really decided by shooting efficiency. For the game, the Crimson Hawks shot a blistering 61.4 percent (35-57) from the field and an unreal 66.7 percent (14-21) from beyond the arch. Beyond that, the two teams played even in rebounds (35-35), turnovers (15-12), bench points (23-21) and points in the paint (34-32).
IUP was led by sophomore Lauren Wolosik who had a career-high 29 points. Four other players scored in double digits.
With the loss, playoff chance for The Rock is looking slim. Slippery Rock is 9-14, 6-11 in the conference and would need to pass Seton Hill (13-10, 9-8) to sneak into the last playoff spot.
The team will look to break its four-game losing streak Wednesday against Mercyhurst University in what will be a blackout game at Morrow Field House.