The Rams (10-14, 7-9 MEC) fell on the road Saturday afternoon to the Cardinals (18-4, 3-3 MEC) of Wheeling Jesuit by a score of 81-60.
In the first half of action, the Rams proved to be up to the challenge against the Cardinals, one of the best teams in the conference. Making 14 of 30 shots (46.67 percent), the Rams brought their sharp-shooting skills with them early.
A three-point buzzer beater at the end of the first half vaulted the Rams into the locker room with confidence that they could carry out the road upset.
However, the second half did not prove to be the same story.
It was a complete role reversal. Shooting just 12-of-29 (41.38 percent) in the first half, the Cardinals heated it up in the second half, to the tune of 15-for-30 (50 percent) shooting.
Outscoring the Rams 27-8 in the third quarter, the Rams appeared shell-shocked. Whether it was inside the paint, at the free throw line, or from three-point territory, the Cardinals were clicking on all cylinders.
The Rams had no answers for the Cardinals’ surge, particularly on the offensive end. Scoring just eight points in the quarter, the Rams dug themselves too big of a hole.
Mariah Callen of the Cardinals was too much for the Rams. She led all scorers with 28 points, shooting an efficient 8-of-13 from the field, including going 5-of-8 from three-point range. Regardless of where she was on the court, she found numerous ways to score.
Fellow Cardinals Jaana Motton also was a potent threat, finishing with an impressive 13 point, 15 rebound effort. Monic Burns and Chantelle Moore both scored 10 points for the Cardinals to help balance their scoring.
The Rams got heavily out-rebounded 47-27, allowing 17 second chance points.
They also proved unable to stop the Cardinals inside game, where the Cardinals thrived to the tune of 30 points. Anything the Cardinals tried offensively in the second half worked, leading to the Rams’ frustrations.
Defensively, the Cardinals stepped up and made life challenging for the Rams. As a team, the Rams shot just 8-of-30 (26.67 percent) in the second half. Shooting from three-point range in particular, the Rams greatly struggled, going 1-for-9 in the second half.
The Rams did not simply finish the game the way they started.
In the loss, the reserves outscored the starters 34-26 for the Rams.
Junior guard Morgan Arden of the Rams was the team’s high-scorer with 14 points. Senior forward Liz Myers gave another strong showing, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds, a near double-double. Senior guard Cara Mason was a dual-threat with her nine points and six assists, which led all players.
Thursday evening against, the Rams will look to get back into the winning column against Notre Dame College (Ohio). Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org