The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team surged past the Kutztown University Golden Bears in the second half of Wednesday’s matchup, 71–53.
Both teams struggled to find their respective offenses at the beginning of the game. A few miscues on both ends kept the score neck-and-neck.
SU started the game strong defensively, limiting three of the Golden Bears’ starters to just two total points in the first quarter.
SU’s Steph Knauer took over in the second, lighting up Kutztown with 12 of her 20 points. The Golden Bears had no answer for Knauer, who shot nearly 90 percent from the field. Knauer’s dominant play gave the Raiders a slight lead at halftime, but more importantly, it gave SU some momentum breaking into the third.
Spreading the ball around the floor has been the team’s bread and butter this season. The message at the half was to get back to that style of play.
“Our main goal coming out of halftime was just to execute our offense better against their 1-3-1 zone,” head coach Kristy Trn said.
With the Golden Bears keying in on Knauer, lanes for the rest of the Raiders’ offense opened up. Haley Scullion and Logan Snyder facilitated the offense all night, threading passes down low and back out to the perimeter through the Golden Bears’ defense. Scullion and Snyder totaled 10 assists on the night.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Haley Scullion. She came off the bench and helped execute our offense very well,” Trn said. “She has been a consistent defensive sparkplug for us as well, so I think that sort of got things in a different mindset for the girls, and then things just started to click.”
Shippensburg then doubled Kutztown’s point output in the third, dropping 25 against KU’s struggling defense.
The Raiders held a 22-point lead at the end of the third quarter. Large leads have become commonplace this season, as SU has won all of its last 12 games by 10 points or more.
With a comfortable lead led by Shippensburg’s senior core, the Raiders’ role players were able to come into the game to close out the victory.
Under Trn’s 18-year tenure, this has been Shippensburg’s second-longest win streak. After starting the year 5–5, the Raiders have caught fire.
“They’ve played phenomenal,” Trn said. “I’m very proud of how they’ve responded to the struggles that we had earlier on in the season. They certainly didn’t quit, and they have done a very good job of coming together as a team on the floor and off the floor.”
The team now has a three-game lead in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Division with just five regular-season games remaining.
SU’s win over Kutztown secured a seed in the PSAC tournament for the team. With just a handful of games left, the Raiders now have an opportunity to clinch the top spot in the East.
The Raiders hit the road to Nelson Field House on Saturday for the final matchup of the season against the Huskies of Bloomsburg University.