Women’s basketball drops fifth straight conference contest

P.J. Shipe, Rocket Contributor
February 3, 2012

Slippery Rock women’s basketball dropped its fifth straight game in a row as it lost 73-50 to the Clarion University Golden Eagles.

The Rock is now 5-14 overall and 2-12 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play.

Slippery Rock was lead by Danielle Smith with 16 points and eight rebounds. Christa Wodarczyk chipped in a career high 10 points and five rebounds while D’asia Chambers contributed nine points, four blocks, and four steals.

Clarion was led by Hannah Heeter with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Teammates Emma Fickel, Lauren Savalchak, and Nicole Miloserscored in double figures.

Slippery Rock went cold from the floor as Clarion raced out to a 19-2 lead with 11 minutes left before halftime. They kept the foot on the gas pedal as the lead increased to 32-11 with five minutes left and extended the lead to 41-19 by halftime.

Slippery Rock only made six field goals in the first half and shot a dismal 25 percent from the floor.

By contrast, Clarion’s offense ran smoothly by connecting on 18 field goals and shooting 54 percent from the field.

The second half followed the same script as Clarion opened with a 25-12 run then blew the game wide open when they took a 66-31 lead with eight minutes left to play.

Slippery Rock tried to mount a late comeback by closing the game on a 19-7 run, but it was not enough.

The Green and White finished the game shooting 34 percent from the field, 2-11 from behind the arc, and 93 percent from the free throw line.

Clarion finished the game shooting 44 percent from the field, 6-12 from beyond the arc, and 64 percent from the free throw line.

SRU head coach Tanya Longo said that turnovers were a big issue for SRU and pressure from Clarion was a problem all game.

“Clarion capitalized on our early turnovers by turning them into quick points,” Longo said. “Clarion also did a great job of forcing pressured shots which left us empty handed most of our offensive trips up the court. Our focus was to try to win each possession one at a time and once a possession is over to focus on next possession at hand.”

Chambers said that the team always works hard and never quits playing no matter how far they fall behind.

“You never quit playing until the clock hits zero,” she said. “The locker room was filled with a team that wanted to go after Clarion in the second half. We just feed off each other and wanted to finish the game strong with a fight.”

Sherita Stanley agreed with Chambers and added that you always have a chance to come back.

“No matter the score there is always time for a comeback,” Stanley said. “You have to start back on the defensive end, and then put the basket back in the net.”

SRU faced IUP on Saturday and lost at Morrow Field House by a final of 57-42. The win was IUP’s 10th consecutive as the loss for SRU was its fourth straight.

The Rock was led by Erinne Cunningham with 15 points including four 3-pointers. No other players reached double figures as Danielle Smith finished with nine points and D’asia Chambers added six points off the bench. The Crimson Hawks were led by Sarah Pastorek who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Marita Mathe and Leslie Stapleton recorded double figures with 10 points respectively.

The Rock fought to a 16-16 tie with about five minutes left to play in the first half. The Rock played strong late in the first half and took a 27-19 lead into the half.

IUP went on a 10-2 run to open the second half to tie the game at 29.

IUP went on a 9-0 run and then pushed it to a 25-6 run to take a 15 point lead with four minutes left to play.

The Rock tried to mount a comeback but never got closer than 13 points the rest of the game.

The Crimson Hawks shot 53 percent from the field in the 2nd half while holding Slippery Rock to 20 percent from the field. IUP connected on 6-14 from three point land and only missed one free throw the entire game.

The Rock made the same amount of three pointers but only visited the free throw line four time but only making two attempts.

The Rock finished a tough stretch of games by playing three consecutive games against number three Edinbero, number 18 IUP, and number 20 Gannon.

Longo said that the Crimson Hawks made some big adjustments at the half which led to the IUP comeback.

“IUP was considerably more aggressive in the second half on both ends of the court creating turnovers on the defensive end which translated into transition points.” Longo said. “IUP is a program with a tradition of success. This season IUP has a very balanced team with inside and outside impact players. They play hard, smart, and together which is a recipe for success.

Stanley said that SRU didn’t stay competitive in the second half by converting on offensive opportunities.

“We didn’t execute in the second half like we did to start the game,” she said. “I feel IUP didn’t hurt us offensively, we hurt ourselves.”

SRU’s next game is tomorrow against Mercyhurst at Morrow Field House. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

Longo said that the key to beating Mercyhurst would be to play a complete game.

“We have to have a solid performance for 40 minutes,” Longo said. “We really did a good job of understanding and executing our game plan against Mercyhurst in the first meeting. We shared the ball offensively and we dominated on the boards on the defensive end. We have to do that again to have a chance to win.”

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