Shepherd Women’s Basketball Continues Late Season Surge with Win Over West Virginia State

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Coach Eckleberry and the Rams displayed a complete group effort in one of their best performances of the season against the Yellow Jackets.

The Rams (13-15, 10-10 MEC) had a potent offensive display that led them to a 92-75 win Saturday afternoon over the Yellow Jackets of West Virginia State (12-14, 10-10 MEC).

Shooting at least 52.94 percent in each half, the Rams were simply on fire from the get-go. For the game, the Rams shot 55.1 percent (38-69) from the field. The Yellow Jackets were left second-guessing themselves on defense unsure of what to do to counter the Rams’ lethal offense.

Inside the paint, the Rams especially dominated, scoring an astonishing 50 points. They got into the paint at will during large portions of the game.

One of the main players who lived in the paint for the Rams was senior forward Liz Myers, who posted a complete game effort with a game-best 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and four blocked shots, which also led all players.

Myers did not have to do it all herself though, as various Rams chipped in the scoring party. Needing just one more rebound to have a triple-double, senior guard Cara Mason lit up the scoreboard with her 18 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. The Yellow Jackets simply had no answers for her all game long.

Junior guard Tiffany McKinney of the Rams, normally a defensive stopper, showed her skills on the offensive end, recording a 18 point, 12 rebound double-double. Junior guard Morgan Arden also had a solid performance with her 13 points and five assists.

For as potent as the Rams were as scoring in the paint, however, the Yellow Jackets were nearly as efficient as the Rams. The 40 points they scored inside kept them in the game when their defense was faltering.

Perhaps the Yellow Jackets started going inside because of their dreadful three-point shooting. Even though they made nine three-pointers, they shot 36 as a team, being woefully inefficient from distance.

A layup by Aurreshae Hines trimmed the Rams’ lead to 80-68 with 4:20 to play, but the Rams would play strong in the final minutes and prevent a desparate comeback attempt.

In the loss, Sydney Bates was the Yellow Jackets’ high-scorer with 19 points. Jordan Miller was a reliable option, as she scored 12 points. Shealyn Shafer proved difficult for the Rams to contain with her 12 point and eight rebound display.

Scoring 92 points in the game, Coach Jenna Eckleberry of the Rams shared her thoughts as to how the Rams’ offense was really clicking, particularly in the paint:

“We shared the ball extremely well and attacked there pressure and made the right reads. We emphasized taking good shots and making one more pass to get a better shot! The girls made great plays and finished around the basket.”

Looking ahead to Thursday evening’s game with West Virginia Wesleyan, Eckleberry said:

“Just continue to work on the little things and focus on the game plan we come up with.  If we play our game I like our chances against anyone.”

With the victory, the Rams now hold the tiebreaker over the Yellow Jackets, as they currently sit sixth in the Mountain East Conference standings.

Thursday evening on Senior Night, the Rams look to continue their strong play when they host West Virginia Wesleyan in a 5:30 p.m. match up.

Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at abrack02@rams.shepherd.edu