As the Shippensburg University women’s basketball team enters tonight’s game against Millersville University, there will be a distinct aura around the game.
Hosting its first playoff game since 2004, SU could not have asked for a better opponent. The Raiders have owned the Marauders this season coming away with double-digit victories in both of those games — most recently a 72–62 victory last Wednesday night.
The Raiders have to like their chances coming into tonight’s game. MU struggled in all parameters of the game in its 42–31 victory over No. 6-seed East Stroudsburg University.
The Warriors held MU well below its season average in points (70.1 ppg) and frustrated Aurielle Mosley — an aspect that Knauer had no problem accomplishing as well in SU’s last meeting with the Marauders.
During that last meeting, Knauer held Mosley at bay. The player-of-the-year candidate finished the game with 16 points, but could not contain Knauer, allowing her to finish with her 12th double-double of the season.
“It never seems like anything is affecting her. She just goes from one play to the next and tries to make something happen,” head coach Kristy Trn said.
Knauer is not the only one who plays that way. SU’s entire roster has played consistently well-disciplined basketball and has shed light on how good this team really is. After a crushing 30-point defeat at the hands of Bloomsburg University, SU has reeled off 12 wins in its last 13 games, two of those coming against the Marauders.
By forcing Mosley to pass the ball out of the paint, the Marauders played into SU’s hands. Mashira Newman is the catalyst of MU’s offense and with the Wert twins at her side every minute, it has been hard for the crafty senior to net the stats that she usually does.
The Wert twins have averaged 10 apiece in SU’s two victories over the Marauders and were key contributors to SU’s free-throw abilities. The Raiders, who have reached the line a PSAC-leading 843 times this season, reached the charity stripe 43 times in their first meeting and 25 times in the second.
Looking toward tonight, if Knauer can contain Mosley and the Werts do their best to limit Newman’s open looks, the Raiders will come away with another double-digit victory.
SU has the Marauders’ number and will win the game 75–59 to advance to the PSAC semifinals, against the winner of California University of Pa. and Gannon University.