The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team (10-12, 6-8 PSAC) dropped both of their games this week against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) competition.
The Raiders were defeated by Bloomsburg University (15-6, 11-3 PSAC) 78-71 in what was a close game all the way. Sophomore Ariel Jones set a new career-high with 38 points, but her strong effort was not enough to get past the No. 1 team in the PSAC Eastern Division.
Jones did most of her work in the fourth quarter, scoring 26 points on near-perfect shooting in the quarter while trying to get her team the win. SU was not able to give Jones much support, with only two other players scoring more than five points.
One of the big reasons that the Raiders were not able to complete their comeback was Bloomsburg’s free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter. The Huskies shot 17-of-19 from the line in the final quarter, 28-of-35 overall.
While Bloomsburg was taking advantage of their trips to the free-throw line, SU struggled, shooting only 57.7 percent from the line. The Huskies were more efficient than the Raiders on Wednesday night, shooting 49 percent from the field compared to the Raiders 40.6 percent.
Sophomore Kryshell Gordy narrowly missed a double-double, tallying nine points and 11 rebounds to go with five steals in the loss to Bloomsburg.
The Raiders came into Saturday’s contest against the second place Kutztown University (12-9, 10-4 PSAC), looking to bounce back from the loss earlier in the week to Bloomsburg. However, Kutztown used a strong second quarter to defeat the Raiders, 97–62.
SU had a two-point lead after the first quarter, but things fell apart in the second.
The team’s starting unit got into foul trouble early in the game, resulting in the bench being forced to play most of the second quarter.
KU took advantage, outscoring the Raiders 24–3 in the quarter to get themselves a massive lead that was never overcome.
The Golden Bears were efficient in all aspects of Saturday’s game, shooting 56 percent from the field, 14-of-28 (50 percent) from three-point range, and 81 percent from the free-throw line.
Jones led SU in points with 17, converting on 10-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line. It was the eighth time this season that she has made 10 or more free throws in a single game. She now moves up to fifth on the PSAC’s single-season made free throws list, making 195 this season.
Jones leads the PSAC in points per game this season with 26.1. She is also averaging 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. The Raiders have a player who can dominate on the court, but they need to surround her with more pieces who can help take the team deep into the PSAC tournament.
Freshman Aunbrielle Green is the only other player on the team who is averaging double-digit points. She is averaging 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Her addition has been a boost to the squad, but other key players will need to perform well down the stretch to have a chance at the PSAC playoffs.
The Raiders currently sit in third place in the PSAC Eastern Division, but they lost ground this week when they lost to both the first-place Huskies and second-place Golden Bears.
SU will need to rebound quickly; the Raiders are tied with two other teams at 6-8 in the PSAC and cannot afford to lose their lone game next week.
Up next for the Raiders is a road game against the Warriors of East Stroudsburg University (8-12, 5-8 PSAC) on Wednesday at 6 p.m.