A flock of balloons and supportive signs littered Morrow Field House, but it wasn’t enough for the Rock women’s basketball team to topple the Pitt-Johnstown mountain cats on senior day. SRU fell 70-58 with one game remaining.
Before tipoff, the three Rock seniors were honored individually: guard Krista Pietropola, forward Mallory Heinle and guard Sierra Fordham. All three seniors started the game.
SRU jumped out to a 14-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, led by sophomore guard Brooke Hinderliter; who kept up her stellar season by scoring a team-high 17 points and playing 25 minutes.
UPJ dominated the second quarter and held a 25-20 lead heading into the second half. The majority of the second half was spent down by one score by The Rock. Two of SRU’s seniors helped the stay close by cleaning the glass, with Heinle grabbing six rebounds, and Pietropola five.
Heinle also led the game in three-point shots, going a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc en route to an 11-point day. The other Rock player in double digits was junior forward Morgan Henderson, who scored 10 and totaled two steals.
Another contributing factor to keeping The Green and White close was free-throw shooting. SRU barely missed the perfect mark, shooting 10-11 from the line to stay down by a single score for the entirety of the third quarter. Hinderliter led the free throw shooters with an unblemished 5-5 effort.
UPJ led 43-39 after the third quarter, and that was when trouble struck. SRU pulled within two points near the end of the quarter, but a 10-2 run by the mountain cats throughout the next three minutes is what doomed SRU and they were never able to make up the difference.
Despite the loss, smiling faces filled the court after the game as the three seniors celebrated their years at SRU.
The Green and White have already secured a playoff slot but will close out the regular season battling for seeding when they take on Gannon next Saturday at 1 p.m. in Erie.