With the score tied or holding a lead with less than four minutes to go in the third quarter this season, the Slippery Rock women’s basketball team had lost four times before Saturday’s road contest with Seton Hill University.
Make that five times now.
The Rock (9-12, 7-9 PSAC) came out of the halftime intermission on a 19 to eight tear that tied the game at 54 with 3:54 left in the third quarter. However, the Griffins (15-8, 9-7) scored 16 of the next 21 points in route to a 97-80 victory over The Rock Saturday afternoon at the Mckenna Center.
Junior guard Brooke Hinderliter continued her strong season by leading both teams with 28 points, which raised her season average to 18.4 points. Hinderliter connected on 12 of her 18 shots during a remarkably efficient night.
Senior guard Ciara Patterson contributed 15 points and a team-leading two three-pointers. Senior forward Morgan Henderson recorded her sixth double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Henderson’s 8.9 rebounds per game pace the entire conference.
With 80 points against the Griffins and four players scoring in double figures, the offense was not the issue.
A porous defense that has ballooned to 75.6 points allowed per game—a full four points per game worse than second worst Mansfield University—has negated any positive steps taken by The Rock’s offense.
While the Green and White has shown the ability to hang around in almost every game this season—with the exceptions being Indiana University (Pa.) twice and Ashland University—late-game woes may prove to be this season’s downfall.
Three times this season, the Green and White has blown at least a five-point lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the contest. Twice in the past three games, The Rock has been tied late in the third or early in the fourth quarter and has not been able to close out the game.
Unable to close out these closely contested games has left The Rock on the outside looking in for crucial Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament seeding.
Only five conference clashes remain on the Green and White’s schedule this season and now sitting seventh in the PSAC-West, postseason play appears to be a fleeting dream.
A few days off allows The Rock to prepare for the annual “White Out” game against Mercyhurst University at Morrow Field House this Wednesday. The first meeting of the two featured the Lakers defeating The Rock 80-56 in rather convincing fashion.
Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m.