Women’s basketball faced stiff competition over winter break

Published by The Rocket, Author: Stephen Cukovich - Assistant Sports Editor, Date: January 25, 2018
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When the rest of the university went home for winter break, women’s basketball kept on going as they went 5-4 over the five week period, while they faced three ranked opponents in that time.

Currently, the Green and White sit in the final playoff spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West standings in sixth place with a 10-9 overall record and an 8-6 conference record.  Indiana University of Pa (17-1) currently sits atop the West, followed by Edinboro University (16-2), and California University of Pa (17-3).  Senior guard Sierra Fordham has scored double digits in three of her past five starts, including a career-high 20 points in The Rock’s loss Wednesday night against Gannon University (11-8).

“She (Fordham) was absolutely awesome today, this was the best game of her career; she has been playing really good basketball,” SRU women’s head coach Bobby McGraw said following the Gannon game.

The Rock began winter break with a non-conference match-up against West Virginia Wesleyan College (6-13) and was able to come away with a 71-67 victory, followed by a loss to now fourth place Seton Hill University (15-5) 78-85.  Current seventh place in the West Mercyhurst University (7-12) came to town the following week and SRU was able to squeeze out a 60-57 win.

In their first of three ranked match-ups, The Rock squared off with then no. 10 CalU and was able to hang tight with Vulcans until SRU gave up 41 points in the second half to lose 62-71.  Just two days later the Green and White faced off with then No. 3 IUP and was no match with the top team in the conference in route to a 50-76 loss.

“There were times that we took possessions off and that cost us those games,” McGraw said.  “When you’re playing teams that talented from top to bottom you can’t take any possessions off.”

Later in the week The Rock would return to their winning ways with a 68-53 win against Clarion University (7-13).The win over Clarion would be the beginning of a three game win streak for The Rock with wins against Mansfield University (7-13) 84-59 and University of Pitt-Johnstown (8-11) 64-60.

The final game for SRU over winter break came against then no. 17 Edinboro as The Rock was not able to outscore the second highest scoring team in the conference loosing the game 52-74.  In their first game back with school in session, The Rock’s comeback effort fell short against Gannon in their 68-70 loss Wednesday night at home.

SRU has been able to rack up points from the free throw line with a 74 percent success rate which is fourth best in the PSAC.  Throughout the season, The Rock offense has found their success off the glass as they’ve been one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the conference with 13.8 offensive rebounds per game.

“We have been going to get it off the glass a ton this year,” McGraw said.  “We went into the Edinboro game, we were one and two in the conference in rebounding, and at the end of the game we both had 41 boards, so yeah we’ve been boarding it.”

Up next for The Rock comes another match-up at now No. 14 CalU on Saturday with the game starting at 1:00 p.m.

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