SU women’s basketball started off hot, sweeping the weekend with two out-of-conference wins.
The Raiders took on the University of Virginia-Wise and Bowie State University on back-to-back days, earning two important wins to garner some momentum before taking on Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) opponents later in the season.
SU took the season opener in convincing fashion, dumping the Cavaliers of UVA-Wise, 63–41. Defense was the story for the Raiders, as the team forced 31 turnovers and registered 16 steals in the double-digit victory.
Point guard Lauren Gold had a huge game for the Raiders, draining 20 points, while shooting 50 percent from the field. The Raiders spread the wealth, with four different players recording 10 or more points. Victoria Blackburn also came off the bench to contribute 11 points in the win.
The Raiders were just a step above the Cavaliers all night, but SU was able to step on UVA-Wise to seal the game in the fourth quarter. The Raiders scored 23 points in the final frame, nearly doubling UVA-Wise’s fourth quarter total.
Saturday’s showdown against Bowie State was a back-and-forth matchup, full of lead changes and individual brilliance. SU forward Stephanie Knauer perhaps shined brightest, shooting an outrageous 87.5 percent from the field, totaling 19 points for the Raiders. SU’s starters came through scoring 67 of Shippensburg’s 75 points.
Scoring off of strong defensive play has been a major factor early this season, as the Raiders added 14 points off of forced turnovers against the Bulldogs and 27 against the Cavaliers. But if the Raiders slipped up defensively, forward Morgan Griffith was there to clean up the mess, picking up eight defensive rebounds.
In addition to Knauer’s strong performance, both Colleen Young and Lauren Gold were perfect from the line, giving SU a crucial eight points to secure an SU victory. Young and Gold both finished the game with 14 points each.
Gold reached the 1,000-point plateau during Saturday’s game. She joins a prestigious club, with just 21 SU alumni breaking 1,000 points. SU’s current roster starts three women in the 1,000 point club.
Shippensburg shot notably better in the second half to provide the team with stability toward the end of the game. The team’s 54 percent shooting percentage in the first half shot up to nearly 71 percent by the end of the game, effectively diminishing any chance the Bulldogs had to challenge SU’s lead in the final minutes.
Shippensburg’s tournament win also marks fellow 1,000-point scorer, head coach Kristy Trn’s 300th career win. Trn’s overall record at Shippensburg now stands at 300–165 over her 18 years at SU.
The Raiders look to continue putting together strong performances as the team heads into the more important PSAC games throughout the season. SU’s next match will be its first in-conference game of the season, as the Raiders take on Slippery Rock University at Heiges Field House. Both teams will roll into the game with undefeated records on the line on Nov. 19. It will be the first meeting between the teams since the 2014–15 season.