The Slippery Rock University women’s basketball team took on the Mercyhurst University Lakers Wednesday night in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) matchup. The Rock, giving up 46 points in the second half of play, ultimately fell at the hands of the Lakers with a final score of 67-48. The loss puts the team at 9-15 overall and 6-12 in PSAC play, while Mercyhurst improved their playoff bound record to 18-5 (13-4).
Rock head coach Bobby McGraw said his team’s failure to play defense for the entirety of the game, a recurring theme this season, was the main reason why Mercyhurst was able to come away with the win.
“We needed to guard for 40 minutes and we didn’t,” McGraw said. “We guarded for 20 minutes, so we succeeded in half of our game.”
When asked about if the injuries his team has faced this year and the shortened bench he has had of late had any impact on the game, McGraw simply said “no.”
“We just had no desire to guard for 20 more minutes,” he said. “The energy was off in the second half, the communication was awful and so was the effort,” he explained.
The Green and White was forced to play their second straight game without star senior point guard Lexi Carpenter. Carpenter, who is the team leader in points at 382 on the season, has been been out since Jan. 28, when she played just about a minute against Seton Hill before being taken out with what has been called a hip flexor injury.
Without Carpenter, Slippery Rock shot 71 percent (10-14) from the free throw line but was only able to record an 18 percent (4-22) shooting percentage from the three-point line.
Leading the way offensively for The Rock was junior forward C.C. Dixon. Dixon registered 15 points, 4 rebounds and an assist. Freshman guard Brooke Hinderliter recorded nine points, four assists and also nine rebounds while senior Cassidy Wright put up 11 points and also went 4-13 (31 percent) from the field. Juniors Sierra Fordham and Krista Pietropola and freshman LeeAnn Gibson combined for 13 points, four assists and 10 rebounds.
McGraw expressed the importance of the final four games of the season.
“We need to run the table (go undefeated the rest of the season) and hope that Seton Hill only wins one of their final four games,” he said. “That is our only chance of getting in, which to this point and time is an absolute shame.”
Three out of the final four games of the season for The Rock come on the road, with their final home game scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18 against Gannon University.
However, the team will first look to snap their five-game losing streak when they travel to Clarion University to take on the Golden Eagles (13-10/10-7 in the PSAC) next Wednesday in a conference matchup. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.