When star guard Brooke Hinderliter is off her game, the Slippery Rock women’s basketball team tends to suffer.
In games against Walsh University, Bowie State University, Seton Hill University, Mercyhurst University and twice against Indiana University (Pa.) in which Hinderliter scored in single digits or shot less than 35 percent from the field, The Rock lost.
On the road Saturday afternoon against Clarion University, Hinderliter scored seven points on three of 13 shooting and fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Continuing the trend, The Rock was defeated by the Golden Eagles, 92-78, on an afternoon in which the Green and White also had an uncharacteristically bad night from the free-throw line.
Handed her first start since late November, redshirt junior guard Madison Johnson put in one of the better games from any Rock player this season. Dropping 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting—which includes two of two from three-point range—and going three of three from the foul line, Johnson grabbed 13 rebounds.
Johnson’s heroics were unable to counterbalance Hinderliter’s subpar game, The Rock’s woes from the free-throw line and a turnover problem in the first half.
The Rock (10-14, 8-10 PSAC) converted just 21 of 33 free-throw attempts for 63.6 percent, well off the Green and White’s season average of 71.1 percent. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles (9-15, 3-14) connected on 32 of 40 attempts for an 80 percent conversion rate.
Efficient free-throw shooting has been the calling card in the Green and White’s upset victories this season. Allowing a season-high 40 attempts to the Golden Eagles—attempts which were converted on four times out of five—facilitated Clarion’s upset of The Rock.
Sloppy play and not punishing the Golden Eagles for committing turnovers by scoring off those turnovers doomed a Rock team which never seemed to click.
The Green and White converted 10 forced turnovers into just six points while the Golden Eagles converted 18 Rock turnovers into 18 points.
Behind Johnson, only one other player scored in double digits for The Rock.
Senior guard Ciara Patterson connected on four of eight three-point attempts and all three free-throw attempts in route to 17 points. Patterson also corralled four rebounds, dished two assists and nabbed a steal and a block.
Junior forward Karington Ketterer scored nine points and pulled down a pair of rebounds. Sophomore guard Daeja Quick and senior forward Morgan Henderson both chipped in five points.
Despite the loss to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference bottom-dweller Clarion, a PSAC Tournament berth remains a very realistic possibility.
Holding the sixth seed in the PSAC-West, the Green and White have the same conference record as the University of Pitt-Johnstown but do not hold the tiebreaker. Seventh place Gannon University sits a whole game back in the standings.
With three PSAC-West games remaining—including away at Pitt-Johnstown and home against Gannon—on the schedule, each game left has immense playoff implications.
The Rock returns to action against Edinboro University—who have already clinched a tournament berth—at Morrow Field Wednesday afternoon. The Green and White’s first match-up against the Fighting Scots resulted in an 85-65 defeat.
Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.