The Rams (15-17) closed out their season with a 78-49 quarterfinal loss in Charleston, West Virginia, in the Mountain East Conference tournament to the second-seeded Cardinals (23-6) of Wheeling Jesuit.
Despite facing heavy odds against them coming in, the Rams competed on both ends of the floor. Trailing 32-26 at the break, the Rams gave the Cardinals reason to doubt themselves.
Shooting just 2-of-8 (25 percent) from three-point range in the first half, the Cardinals could not get the breathing room they needed to fight off the upset-minded Rams. They had 38 points in the paint for the game, but were limited to close-range shots with the Rams’ stingy perimeter defense.
For as well as the Rams were playing defensively though, they faced greater difficulties on the offensive end. In each half, they shot 9-of-31 (29.03 percent), which is not good enough to topple a team like the Cardinals. Turning the ball over 17 times in route to 20 points off of turnovers for the Cardinals did not help matters either.
The effort for the Rams was there, but not the execution.
What did keep the Rams in the game was their toughness. Not wanting to end her career without a fight, senior forward Liz Myers of the Rams gave perhaps her best effort of the season. She had an extraordinary double-double, with 16 points and leading all players with 17 rebounds, not to mention her three steals and three blocked shots. To say she carried the team would be a massive understatement.
With the Rams hanging around and clinging on for dear life, the Cardinals finally put the Rams away by outscoring the Rams 27-12 in the final frame. One major reason why they were able to do so was their performance at the free throw line: 21-of-24 for the game, compared to the Rams’ 10-of-16 from the free throw line.
The Rams had no counter to the Cardinals’ offense in the fourth quarter and much of the second half, as the Cardinals shot 26-of-55 (47.3 percent) for the game. Winning the rebounding department 42-35 also helped the Cardinals stave off the Rams.
Despite competing to their limits, the Rams were just beaten by a better team, as Wheeling Jesuit continued to wear them down throughout the course of the game.
Chenelle Moore was a big reason why the Cardinals won, as she totaled a game-high 19 points. Teammate Monica Burns recorded 13 points, while Kylie Frizell laid on 10 points and six rebounds. She proved to be difficult to contend with all game long.
The Rams’ junior guards Morgan Arden and Kayla Tibbs had 11 and 10 points respectively to help Myers in the scoring department. Fellow junior guard Tiffany McKinney posted seven points and six rebounds.
In what was her final game as a Ram, senior guard Cara Mason had just four points, but led all players with seven assists.
Speaking of assists, Mason’s 521 career assists are second-most in Rams’ history. All-time at Shepherd, Mason is tied for sixth in scoring (1,292), sixth in steals (186), and has the highest number of assists in one season (182).
Just like Mason, Myers also has notable records as a Ram. She is 10th all-time in Rams’ history in scoring (1,132), third in rebounds (870), fifth in steals (188), and is near the top of Rams’ players in career blocked shots (139)
Senior players on the squad, such as Mason, Myers, forward Hailey Brown, forward Kristina Prange, and guard Sammy Bane will all be surely missed from the team. They all played a significant role on the team.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org