Slippery Rock (4-16, 1-9 PSAC) women’s basketball led for nearly the first four minutes against California University of Pa. (12-7, 6-4 PSAC) but the Vulcans offense proved to be far too efficient for SRU to handle in the final 36 minutes of regulation as the Rock fell 85-67 Saturday afternoon.
Cal-U took the lead with 16:07 remaining in the first half off of a jump shot from junior Emma Mahady.
Cal-U’s lead went as high as 14 in the first half but was reduced to a nine point lead at the end of the first with SRU trailing 41-32.
With 10:02 remaining in the game SRU put together what they hoped would begin their comeback to victory.
Senior Jazmyne Frost scored off a jumper, followed by a layup by junior D’Asia Chambers, then a layup by freshman Kara Houppert and a three-pointer by sophomore Erica Aiello.
The lead was reduced to six points, a two-possession game.
“We needed to stay calm and realize we were still in the lead,” Cal-U head coach Jess Strom said. “We just needed to take care of the ball and take care of defense.”
Cal-U did exactly that, scoring the next seven points and defending a double-digit lead for the remaining five minutes of play.
As time was quickly running off the clock near the end of regulation, Frost yelled and made a rush to foul freshman Miki Glenn of Cal-U as she held the ball near half court. This was Frost’s fifth foul, removing her from play for the rest of the game.
“She is one of our leaders, captains make sacrifices,” Chambers said. “She did it because it was what needed to be done.”
Frost has fouled out in a total of six games this season and leads the PSAC-West in total personal fouls with 74.
“I had to do it regardless. Had to take one for the team to stop the clock,” Frost said.
SRU finished the game shooting 44 percent (27 of 62) from the field and 42 percent (5 of 12) from three-point range. The Rock put eight of 12 free throws through the hoop.
Cal-U also shot 44 percent (37 of 72) from the field and 37 percent (7 of 19) from behind the arc. The Vulcans shot 82 percent (14 of 17) from the free point line.
Cal-U outrebounded the Rock 50-32 but was outscored 40-32 in the paint.
Slippery Rock’s bench was outscored by Cal-U’s reserves 40-8 during the game.
Chambers led SRU with 21 points and six rebounds followed by Frost with 20 points and nine rebounds.
“Longo is pretty good about seeing mismatches and knowing what to do,” Chambers said. “She has faith in us and was trusting us to go in and make it happen.”
Aiello added 10 points for SRU.
Mahady led Cal-U with 22 points and 15 rebounds for her first collegiate double-double.
“She is our go-to on the offense end and she puts in the extra time,” Strom said. “When it comes down to it, she has the confidence.”
Junior Irina Kukolj tied a career high with 21 points off the bench for Cal-U and grabbed six rebounds.
Freshman CeCe Dixon added 11 points as a reserve and grabbed five rebounds.
Slippery Rock will travel to Gannon University in Erie, PA on Wednesday to face against the No. 4, nationally-ranked, Knights (20-1, 9-1 PSAC).
Cal-U returns home looking to hold on to their third place in the PSAC-West against the Lakers of Mercyhurst University (6-13, 4-5 PSAC).
IUP trails Cal-U for third place in the PSAC-West standings by only one game.