The Shippensburg University Women’s Basketball team fell just short in overtime against Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Semifinals, 67–58.
SU lost one of its most important players early in guard Logan Snyder, when she landed hard after driving in to score for the Raiders. But Snyder’s injury gave a spark to Shippensburg, injecting the team with emotion throughout the rest of the first half.
Capitalizing on IUP’s turnovers in the first half allowed Shippensburg to pull away. The Raiders took a sizable 31–18 lead into half, looking like a team that could not be denied. But as the game had been all day for SU, no lead was safe, as IUP went on a 13–0 run to start the third to pull within two points.
From then, it was a battle for supremacy between two strong defensive teams. Stephanie Knauer stepped up for SU, potting 21 points and an 82 percent shooting percentage that lead the Raiders.
Shippensburg’s starters found ways to contribute that did not necessarily include scoring. SU’s Morgan Griffith was an assist machine in the second half, constantly keeping the Raiders within striking distance with penetrating passes. Griffith finished the day with a game-high 12 rebounds and five assists.
“Morgan’s always been the one to do the job for us on the boards,” head coach Kristy Trn said. Griffith was assigned to guard one of IUP’s top players, Megan Smith, who burned the Raiders for 25 points in the team’s last matchup. Griffith held Smith to just nine points in Saturday’s contest.
“Sometimes it’s very difficult when you have to be faced with tasking the top player defensively to then also be able to turn over to the other side and be asked to lead offensively as well, but I thought Morgan did an outstanding job defensively for us today,” Trn said.
As the game wound down, the Raiders found themselves trailing by two with 14 seconds left.
Colleen Young put the game in her hands and sank two free throws to give Shippensburg a shot to send the game into overtime. IUP then had a chance to take the final shot to win the game, but another crucial technical turnover gave the Raiders one last chance. With just one second on the clock and the game again in Young’s hands, Young drove the lane to throw a shot up that hung in the air for what felt like hours before hitting the back of the rim and falling out of the basket.
“I don’t know how Colleen’s layup at the end of regulation came back up out of the rim ’cause it seemed like it was down and game over, but sometimes that’s [how it] breaks,” Trn said.
IUP seemed ready to take over in overtime, and the team executed its game plan well.
“We just feel very fortunate to be sitting right here right now at this time to have a quality win against a really well-coached basketball team,” IUP head coach Tom McConnell said. IUP went perfect from the line to close out the game.
“We have a team full of huge hearts, and we’ll do anything out on the court for our team members,” Knauer said. “Losing Logan early definitely hurt us, but we’re ready for the next game.”
For the Raiders, the team can now look past the PSAC playoffs and focus on to the NCAA Tournament. The Raiders earned a No. 4 seed and will face Mercyhurst University at California University of Pennsylvania Friday.
Despite the loss to Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the PSAC semifinals, SU has played well of late. The team had not lost a game in two and a half months on a remarkable 19-game win streak.
As the season winds down, this setback may be the wake-up call the Raiders need to create their legacy. Trn stresses a team first mentality, and it showed with how the team dealt with adversity during Saturday’s contest.
“All the credit has to go to them, and their unselfishness to just come out and work together on the floor,” Trn said.