The Slippery Rock women’s basketball team fell short on the road to No. 5 Indiana (Pa.) by a score of 77-48 on Saturday evening.
The loss drops the Slippery Rock to 6-17 overall and 4-13 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, while the powerhouse Crimson Hawks elevate their record to 21-1 and a perfect 16-0 in PSAC play.
Stepping on to the court as the opposing team at the Kovalchick Convention Center is no easy task, especially when considering the hosting Crimson Hawks are one of the five best basketball teams across Division II.
However, The Rock women battled hard in the first quarter, overcoming an early deficit.
Feeding off the energy of the home crowd, IUP was quick to put up seven consecutive points to open the 87th edition of one of the PSAC’s most heated rivalries. In a quarter filled with stretches of scoring outbursts from each team, The Rock scored the next five points, capped off by a three-point play by senior forward LeeAnn Gibson, to cut Indiana’s lead down to two.
The Crimson Hawks responded to The Rock’s surge by putting up another seven unanswered points, opening a 14-5 lead halfway through the first quarter. IUP would see its growing lead slowly shrink for the remainder of the quarter, as The Green and White went on a 10-4 run to end the quarter.
After ten minutes of play, The Rock found themselves keeping pace with an IUP squad who had won their previous 18 games, trailing by a score of 18-15.
After an impressive showing of resilience in the first quarter, Slippery Rock struggled mightily on the offensive end of the floor. The Rock was only able to knock down one shot from the field, scoring the other three points on free throw attempts. After 20 minutes of play, the Rock stumbled to a permanent double-digit deficit against the defending PSAC West champions.
The Rock was outscored by a margin of 43-28 in the second half en route to an eventual 77-48 loss to IUP. Despite suffering a tough loss, there were several positive takeaways from Saturday’s contest.
Senior guard Brooke Hinderliter led all scorers with a game-high 23 points, adding six rebounds. After Saturday’s 23-point performance, the centerpiece of The Rock’s offense is now only 45 points shy of surpassing Kory Fielitz’ (1990-94) 1,649 points to move into second place in program history for points scored.
Gibson had a productive night as she finished with 10 points and 11 rebounding, marking her second-straight double-double game, and fifth on the season overall. Gibson only needs to record five more rebounds to become the 17th member of the 500 point – 500 rebound club in program history.
Slippery Rock will look to shake off the loss as they return home to host Pitt-Johnstown at Morrow Field House for a Wednesday night game. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.