The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team claimed sole possession of first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division on Saturday when they defeated East Stroudsburg University 59-46 in front of a packed home crowd at Heiges Field House.
The performance was one of the Raiders’ (14-7, 11-4 PSAC) best and most complete of the season.
After a close first quarter, the Raiders began to pull away using a lockdown defensive performance in the second quarter. SU outscored East Stroudsburg 15-8 in the second quarter while forcing the Warriors into shooting 17.6% from the field.
East Stroudsburg, down 30-22 at halftime, switched to a 2-3 zone defense to begin the second half in an attempt to stop the SU offense. However, the Raiders battled through using good ball movement to find high-quality shots. The Raiders completely pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring ESU 23-15 and building up a 16-point lead which they would never relinquish.
One of the keys to the victory for the Raiders was their excellent defensive play. Each player in the starting lineup played with intensity on the defensive end of the floor. East Stroudsburg shot the ball only 32.2% from the field.
In a third quarter in which the momentum of the game was on the line, the Raiders held East Stroudsburg scoreless until the 5:45 mark of the quarter. It was during that time that the team built up an insurmountable 16-point lead.
Junior Kryshell Gordy put together one of her best defensive performances of the season. She showcased her defensive versatility while being matched up with East Stroudsburg’s top scorer, Tiffany Lapotsky. Lapotsky, who averages 19.3 points per game, was held to 16 points due mostly due Gordy’s excellent defense.
Gordy has the size to play a range of positions, from small forward to center. Last season, she started all the team’s games while playing small forward. She has a rare combination of defensive skills and a size which allows her to be versatile on that end of the floor.
“Kryshell just has some length and the lateral quickness to defend a guard,” head coach Kristy Trn said. “Sometimes her length and blocking ability create some problems for guards out on the perimeter. She’s also physical and strong on the post too.”
Trn said that Gordy was the team’s best and most consistent defensive player. She finished the win over East Stroudsburg with seven points, six rebounds and a block.
Junior Destiny Jefferson put together perhaps her most complete performance of the season while leading the Raiders over East Stroudsburg. She contributed in multiple statistical categories, pouring in 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“Destiny is a dynamic player. When she wants to get down and play lockdown defense, there’s not many people who are going to get around her,” Trn said. “She’s done a great job using her feet to get her body completely in front of the ball handler. I thought she did an outstanding job defensively. She’s very good at pushing the ball up the floor. She’s very sneaky at getting steals and overall she is the full package.”
Jefferson is averaging 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game so far this season.
The Raiders sit alone in first place in the PSAC Eastern Division after Saturday’s defeat of East Stroudsburg. Up next for the Raiders is a home matchup with West Chester University on Wednesday night.