After being down by 13 points at the half, The Rock women’s basketball was able to pull it to within two points late in the fourth quarter, but Gannon University (11-8) was able to maintain the lead and secure a 70-68 victory.
With the win, Gannon was able to leap over The Rock in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West playoff standings to take fifth place. SRU fell to sixth place, which leaves them in the final playoff spot in the West standings with a 10-9 record and an 8-6 conference record.
“This was an important game plain and simple, there is no way to talk around that,” SRU women’s basketball head coach Bobby McGraw said following the game. “Tonight was an important game, not a must win, would’ve been a nice win, but now we got to go get them at their place for sure.”
Leading the Green and White in scoring was senior guard Sierra Fordham with a career-high 20 points going nine of 14 from the field and hitting half her three-point attempts (2/4) with six assists.
“She has been tremendous,” McGraw said. “This was the best game of her career today, she was absolutely amazing tonight, she has been playing really good basketball.”
Sophomore forward LeeAnn Gibson tallied 13 points while going six of eight from the field, while junior forward Morgan Henderson and sophomore guard Brook Hinderliter both notched 11 points
The Rock found themselves down only by one point after the first quarter, but they surrendered 25 points in the second to put themselves in a 13 point hole. In the first half the Green and White failed to register a bucket three-point range, off of five attempts.
That changed just a few minutes into the second half as the nailed two quick three pointers to jump start a 23 point third quarter, followed by a 20 point fourth but it wasn’t enough as Gannon held on for a two point victory. What separated the two teams the most was the free throw attempts as Gannon was given 25 free throw opportunities, draining 21 of them, while The Rock notched eight off of just 10 attempts.
“The problem was they shot 25 free throws and we shot 10, that was the biggest problem,” McGraw said. “We shot two free throws in the first half, and we lead the entire conference in free throws attempted. I thought the officiating was absolutely unacceptable tonight, to go along with that so was getting out rebounded by the worst rebounding team in the conference.”
Up next for The Rock comes a match-up at California University of Pa (17-3) on Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m. The two teams last met on Jan. 6 when no. 10 CalU was able to defeat SRU 71-62.