After losing to West Chester University the day before, Rock head coach Bobby McGraw called Sunday afternoon’s match-up with the Cheyney University Wolves a potential must-win game for the women’s basketball team. This game was the second of two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) crossover match-ups on the weekend for Slippery Rock.
McGraw and The Rock (3-5, 1-2) tried to shake things up with the lineup, starting junior guard Sierra Fordham and senior guard Cassidy Wright over the usual guard pairing of senior Lexi Carpenter and freshman Brooke Hinderliter.
The Cheyney Wolves (0-4, 0-4) was looking for their first win in only their second game since Nov. 20.
The Green and White struggled to score in the first two periods of play, shooting only 1-10 in the first quarter and 4-12 in the second. SRU went into halftime trailing 26-20, but Coach McGraw was not worried.
“We missed some shots in the first half that we normally don’t miss,” McGraw said. “Eventually you’re going to make those shots. We were missing shots that we hardly ever miss. Coming off a tough loss it’s one of those things where at halftime we had a good talk and the kids came out of halftime ready to play in the third quarter.”
Slippery Rock put up 25 points in the third quarter to take a 45-36 lead into the fourth. The Rock offense was helped by improved outside shooting by Carpenter, junior guard/forward Mallory Heinle and junior guard Krista Pietropola. Carpenter led all scorers in the game with 12 points, Heinle finished with seven and Pietropola ended the game with eight. Carpenter also added four assists and Heinle chipped in eight rebounds.
The Rock had to be wary of Cheyney junior TaKayla Ellis; Ellis put up 20 points on Slippery Rock when the two team’s met last year and she had already scored eight points in the first half. Fortunately, The Rock improved at both ends of the court in the first half.
SRU shut the door in the second half, giving up only 19 points to The Wolves and holding Ellis to 1-8 shooting for three points as the team cruised to a 55-45 win.
“That was one of the best defensive halves of basketball I’ve been associated with here,” McGraw said. “We defended well in the first half, we defended tremendously in the second half.”
The Rock held Cheyney to 26.6 percent (17-64) shooting for the whole game and only 15.8 percent (3-19) shooting in the fourth quarter.
Hinderliter filled up the stat sheet in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 11 points, hitting 7-8 free throws, four steals, two assists and one block. Sophomore forward Morgan Henderson led the team with 11 total rebounds.
Carpenter went down with an apparent head injury late in the fourth quarter but appeared to be fine following the game.
Now sitting at 4-5 overall and 2-2 in the PSAC, The Rock will prepare to take on Millersville University at home on Dec. 10. Tipoff is set for 1:00 p.m.