The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team suffered a setback when they lost 65-62 to West Chester University on Wednesday night at Hollinger Field House.
The Raiders (8-6, 5-3 PSAC) lacked the necessary energy and intensity on the floor, letting West Chester (4-9, 2-6 PSAC) out-hustle them from the opening tip.
“It was a lackluster performance out there,” Shippensburg head coach Kristy Trn said. “You could tell from warmups that our minds weren’t into the game. We weren’t working together as a team. We weren’t executing offensively and we failed to take care of the ball.”
The Golden Rams jumped out to an 11-point lead early in the second quarter before the Raiders began to gain some momentum. SU held West Chester to just seven points in the second quarter, resulting in the game being tied at 28 heading into halftime.
Shippensburg opened up the third quarter on a 5-0 run, but West Chester answered with a 13-0 run which earned them a three-point lead heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter went back and forth, and the lead changed hands four times in the game’s final four minutes.
Junior Destiny Jefferson led the way for the Raiders, totaling 25 points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the game’s final minutes.
The Raiders, down 64-62, had a chance to tie or win the game with four seconds left, but freshman Treasure George turned the ball over with a bad pass that sealed the game for West Chester.
Despite having a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds, coach Trn was not satisfied with the team’s play against the Golden Rams.
“I don’t think that one play with Treasure was the difference in this game,” Trn said. “We didn’t show up to play tonight from the first quarter on. Our team’s not here working together, executing and following any of the keys we had put on our scouting report to play defense or how we were going to execute offensively.”
Junior Ariel Jones, the team’s leading scorer on the season, struggled against West Chester. She finished with only 12 points while shooting 5-of-15 from the field. As one of the upperclassmen on the team, combined with being the team’s leading scorer this season, Jones needed to step up when she saw the team playing with little energy.
The Raiders are in need of one of their players to step up on a consistent basis so that games like the one against West Chester don’t happen as often.
“We need some leadership to step out on the floor and step up,” Trn said. “And we just haven’t seen it, especially when things aren’t going our way. When things aren’t going our way, we just don’t have that leadership who is going to take control.”
The Raiders’ Achilles' heel this season has been their inconsistent level of energy they play with on the floor. The team has looked outstanding at times this season (a win over nationally-ranked California University of Pennsylvania and a close loss against nationally-ranked Indiana University of Pennsylvania) while struggling at other times (losing four out five games earlier in the season). While Shippensburg is a younger team, the level of intensity they play with on the floor should not be affected.
“They have to perform better if they want to achieve the goals that they have for themselves at the end of the season,” Trn said. “This has unfortunately been the mantra sometimes of this group. Very uneven play and uneven emotion. We have had discussions on a daily basis about our effort and intensity every time we step on the floor.”
The Raiders will have a chance to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to take on East Stroudsburg (10-4, 6-2 PSAC), who is in first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division.