Rock ends season with loss to Mercyhurst

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The Slippery Rock women’s basketball team concluded the 2019-20 season with a 75-65 loss to Mercyhurst on Saturday at the Morrow Field House.

For Slippery Rock’s uber-passionate head coach Bobby McGraw, his goal was to have his team leave it all out on the court against the opposing Lakers.

“I told everyone that we were going to fight and scratch and claw no matter what happened,” McGraw said. “Everyone in that locker room, no matter how they were feeling, was confident that we were going to get it done today.”

From the opening tip-off, The Green and White lived up to McGraw’s words. With the Slippery Rock faithful making their presence known in the stands, SRU displayed high intensity on both ends of the floor, attacking the basket on offense and guarding the glass on defense. After being down 13-8 halfway through the first quarter, The Rock’s experienced starting lineup rallied on a 9-2 run to conclude the first ten minutes of play with a 17-15 lead.

The Rock and the Lakers would trade blows back and forth for a majority of the second quarter up until the 1:51 mark. After hitting a three-point shot to reclaim a lead they would not give up again. After going on a 7-0 run, Mercyhurst enjoyed a 36-30 lead heading into halftime.

The Rock would battle hard in the second half, but after falling behind to the Lakers 72-63 with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, McGraw pulled out all four seniors after a late free-throw attempt by junior guard Daeja Quick.

To a warm, welcoming standing ovation by both the Slippery Rock and Mercyhurst crowds, Madison Johnson, LeeAnn Gibson, Karington Ketterer and Brooke Hinderliter checked out of their final collegiate basketball game, embracing McGraw and their teammates as soon as they reached the bench. In an undeniably emotional moment in The Rock’s final moments of the season, McGraw made sure his seniors got the recognition they deserved.

“[Giving the seniors an ovation] was something that we wanted to do, we wanted each of them to be recognized individually,” McGraw said. “We used every timeout, we picked up a couple more fouls, we were trying to give the [seniors] their dues. They earned those ovations with what they’ve done in the classroom, in the community and on the floor. They are wonderful people and will be successful in life without a doubt in my mind.”

Each of the four seniors made an impact in Saturday’s game, all of them scoring in double figures.

Hinderliter scored 16 points, recorded eight rebounds and made two steals, while Johnson scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Ketterer tallied a team-high eight blocks and came up just short of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Gibson finished with 11 points and six rebounds of her own.

Quick, who is Slippery Rock’s only non-senior starter, added 15 points, four rebounds and two assists.

Hinderliter ends her career as the all-time leader in free throws made, games started, games played, and second in the program’s history in career points. Gibson became the 17th player in program history to record 500 points and 500 rebounds in a career and ranks fourth in offensive rebounds.

The Rock turns in an 8-20 overall record and 6-16 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Mercyhurst was also left outside of the playoff picture as the Lakers finished 8-20 overall and 8-14 in the PSAC.

Zack is a senior digital media production major and entering his first year on The Rocket staff, serving as assistant sports editor. Since a young age, Zack knew that his career would involve athletics in one way or another. After graduation, he hopes to work in the industry of sports broadcasting.

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