The Rams (13-13, 9-1 MEC) hosted the University of Charleston Golden Eagles (11-15, 7-13 MEC) for the second face-off between the two teams this season. Shepherd was able to get back at the Eagles for handing them an early season loss on the road 69-65 back on Nov. 20 by coming out on top with a 58-45 victory in the Butcher Center on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 17.
The Rams were in control of the game from the opening tip. The only time the Golden Eagles held the lead was on the game’s first possession when junior forward/center Ambrea Williams scored a layup.
Junior guard Kari Lankford helped the Rams jump out to a lead that grew to as many as 13 points in the first half by scoring12 out of her 14 points in the first half of action.
The Rams were able to hit shots early in the game which allowed them to play an aggressive style of defense.
“I think that we came out ready to go, and we had a great job of getting Kari Lankford and Sydney Clayton going. They’re real strong and can get to the basket real good.” Rams head coach Jenna Eckleberry said postgame about the teams’ performance. “it helps that we have shooters on the outside, so they can’t collapse, so they got us going and everyone played well, played their role good.”
In the first half the Golden Eagles made nine out of their 26 field goal attempts, shooting 34 percent overall in the half. Charleston shot just 1-for-9 from behind the three-point line.
Shepherd held a 33-20 lead over Charleston at the end of the first half, which put pressure on the Golden Eagles to play from behind and take shots they do not usually attempt in games when they are ahead.
Despite the poor shooting effort in the first half, Charleston kept going back to the three-point shot, attempting to cut the lead quickly. This did not work out well for them, as they shot 1-for-11 from beyond the arc in the second half. For the game, they hit on two out of their 20 three-point attempts.
The Rams were able to hold all Golden Eagles players in single digits in the scoring column, with two players reaching nine points.
Shepherd had a better night offensively, with four players: junior guard Kayla Tibbs, senior guard Mogan Arden, Lankford, and freshman forward Sydney Clayton scoring at least 10 points. Clayton led all scorers with 16 points on an efficient 8-for-14 shooting afternoon to go along with seven rebounds and two steals.
As a team, the Rams shot 47.2 percent from the floor, including 36.4 percent from deep on a day where their opponent could not consistently find the bottom of the net.
When asked about the nearing of the regular season end Eckleberry responded with, “we’re only looking for our next game, that’s Wednesday. We just have to game plan, get ready for that, get some rest these next couple days and get ready to go play the number one team in the conference.”
Overall, this was a good team win for the Rams, as they essentially held the lead from start to finish by playing their style of game.
The Rams hope to continue the momentum from the two-game win streak as they head on the road to take on Glenville State on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 p.m.
Vaughn Brewer is a sports writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org