The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team split a pair of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) crossover matchups over the weekend at Heiges Field House in Shippensburg.
The Raiders (6-5, 3-2 PSAC) opened up the weekend with grueling 78-71 victory over the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ). Junior guard Ariel Jones played all 40 minutes and led the team with an efficient 34-point performance.
SU shot 17-of-23 from the free throw line, including making 10-of-12 in the fourth quarter.
Shippensburg junior Destiny Jefferson was in and out of the game due to various injuries and played only 18 minutes. Freshman Fiona Rowan stepped in and played valuable minutes in both the game against UPJ and Saturday’s game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).
“First half she came out, hit two buckets and handled the ball,” SU head coach Kristy Trn said. “She’s very smart defensively and I thought she did an excellent job in her first game. To be put under that much pressure after Destiny got injured, I give her a lot of credit.”
Rowan, in her first game of the season, finished with five points and two rebounds while also playing good defense against UPJ.
The Raiders followed up their win over UPJ with a 69-61 loss to No. 11 ranked IUP. The game was close throughout, but the Crimson Hawks were able to pull away in the fourth quarter, outscoring SU 22-16 the period.
Shippensburg shot 39.6% from the field and 33.3% from 3-point range in the loss to IUP. Jones, who was red hot the previous night against UPJ, struggled to consistently hit her shots throughout the game. She finished with 17 points while shooting 6-of-18 from the field, 2-of-7 from deep and 3-of-6 from the free throw line.
IUP outscored the Raiders 32-22 in points in the paint as they consistently took advantage of their size and athleticism. Justina Mascaro led the way for IUP, scoring 32 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Courtney Alexander also played well for the Crimson Hawks, adding in 20 points in 27 minutes off the bench. However, Shippensburg came within a couple missed free throws and layups in the game’s final quarter of winning the game.
Trn said after the game that she did not consider the game against IUP as a loss. For a young team like the Raiders, it was a learning experience and it was a positive that they came as close as they did to beating IUP.
“I see this as a positive builder for us, that we can compete with a team of their caliber,” Trn said. “We are going to use it as a springboard as we move forward. I think with young teams like we do have, there will be some inconsistency and I thought we saw that with West Virginia Wesleyan."
"I think, in the last four games, we have really shown what we can do as a group and I’m really excited to get back from break and to get into our division schedule to see where these lessons are going to take us,” Trn said.
After a brief holiday break, the Raiders will fight a home contest against Millersville University on January 3.