The Rams (4-9, 1-4 MEC) fell to the Roars (2-7, 1-4 MEC) of Concord University by the score of 72-69 Tuesday night in Athens, West Virginia.
After a first half in which both sides struggled to find a rhythm offensively, the offenses started clicking in the second half. The Rams made half of their shots in the second half, while the Roars shot 48 percent. Junior guards Morgan Arden and Tiffany McKinney lit up the scoreboard in the second half for the Rams. Arden totaled a season and game-best 29 crucial points while McKinney poured in 11.
Trailing by two in the final minute, junior guard Morgan Arden tied the game at 68 with 34 seconds left on the clock with a layup. However, on the Roars ensuing possession, Arden was called for a foul with 10 seconds remaining that sent Alexis Lowery of Concord to the free throw line. She made both free throws to give Concord a 70-68 lead.
Arden then missed a layup in the closing seconds, but senior forward Liz Myers snatched an offensive rebound and got fouled with two seconds to play. She made one free throw, cutting the Roars’ lead to one at 70-69.
Danielle Catron of Concord proceeded to make both of her free throws to augment the Roars’ lead to 72-69 with one second to play. The Rams were unable to get a shot off and lost.
Senior guard Cara Mason of the Rams had a great all-around effort with 15 points and a game-leading seven assists. Senior forward Liz Myers had a solid performance with six points and seven rebounds.
Danielle Catron of Concord proved to be too much for the Rams to stop, finishing with 19 points. Teammate Alexis Lowery hurt the Rams with her offensive and defensive abilities, finishing with 14 points and game-best five steals.
The reserves for the Rams scored 40 points, which really helped the starters, who struggled in this facet of the game. Establishing a presence in the paint was clearly in the game plan, as the Rams piled on 32 points there. Forcing turnovers also proved to be a strength, as the Rams forced 25 turnovers that led to 22 points. Getting easy baskets like these really helped the Rams get back into and almost win the game.
The Roars controlled the game inside the paint, pounding the Rams to the tune of 36 points down low. Winning the rebounding battle 36-30 proved to be the crucial difference in the game’s outcome. Getting 17 points off turnovers themselves and having 33 points from their reserves also contributed to the group effort in their home victory.
For the game, the Rams shot 43.3 percent, going 6-of-17 from three-point distance. The Roars shot a more efficient 49 percent from the field, but struggled from downtown, going 1-of-8. Perhaps the main factor that affected the game’s outcome was the free throw shooting of both teams, especially at the end. The Rams made just 11-of-21 foul shots, while the Roars made 21-of-26.
The Rams will look to defeat UVa-Wise on Thursday afternoon. The game is at 2 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com