SU senior Colleen Young became the fifth Raider on the current roster, and the 23rd player overall to reach 1,000 career points in SU women’s basketball history.
Riding high off an 18-game win streak and a first-round bye, the Raiders’ confidence was soaring heading into Wednesday’s game.
The Raiders blew the doors off in the first frame, outscoring the Huskies 19-2. SU’s Morgan Griffith was stellar, dropping nine points in the first quarter and creating magic in the paint. Griffith was dominant on both ends, finishing the game with 20 points and 15 rebounds for the team’s first double-double in the playoffs this season.
“That’s the Morgan that we know and love and that was player of the year last year,” head coach Kristy Trn said. “She has the ability to do that every single night and she really stepped up big tonight.”
Bloomsburg University battled back, outscoring SU by a basket in the second quarter, but struggled to gain traction after its abysmal 6.7 shooting percentage in the first quarter. SU held the Huskies to just 15 points in the first half, tied for a season-best total.
“We were playing phenomenal defense,” Trn said. “That’s really what I think sparks things for us and gives us confidence.”
Young came into Wednesday’s game just 10 points shy of 1,000 career points, and she was on a mission from the start to break it before the end of her SU career. In the dying moments of the second quarter, Young pulled up for a three with seven points on the day, but the jumper would not fall just yet.
Young christened the second half with an early three from the corner to ignite the crowd. Young finished with 14 points on the night. Young joined the other four SU starters to reach 1,000 career points.
“I think it’s a really big accomplishment,” Young said. “We’re all really proud of ourselves, and we’ve all helped each other get there, so it’s really cool.”
It is a rarity to have multiple players break such a monumental mark, but to have every starter on the team be such a consistent scoring threat has given SU some firepower the team has not seen in quite some time.
“That’s very rare to have all five starters have 1,000 points in their career,” Trn said. “That’s a testament to how hard they’ve worked and come together to put themselves in the positions that they’re in right now.”
Shippensburg’s work was not done, with Bloomsburg still forcing the issue throughout the third quarter. But the Huskies found themselves in foul trouble late in the game, with Griffith and company drawing foul after foul to keep Bloomsburg from mounting a comeback. The Raiders ended the game with a 34-9 advantage in free-throw attempts.
After sailing to a smooth victory, SU will look forward to its next challenge. The Raiders take on a strong Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) team that handed SU its first loss of the season, 69–59 at IUP, but this is a different Raider squad with new-found confidence.
“We played them once already, and we lost by 10, and that was sort of at the time when we weren’t playing as a group and executing well and playing the style of defense we’re playing right now,” Trn said.
After one of its best defensive performances of the season, SU will have the opportunity to knock off the No. 2 seed in the PSAC West to earn a spot PSAC Championship Game. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. March 4 at Heiges Field House.