The Rams (14-16, 11-11 MEC) fell to the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons (17-11, 14-8 MEC) on the road by a score of 78-63 to close out the season.
The first half of play was tightly contested as both teams ended the half tied at 33 points apiece. Both teams struggled some to find the bottom of the net as the Rams shot 39 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three-point range.
It didn’t get much better for the Fighting Falcons as they shot 38 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three as well.
However, the story of the second half was different as the Fighting Falcons outscored Shepherd 45-30. This was in large part to Falcons’ senior guards Diedra Combs and Emily Puskarich, who put up 18 points and 10 respectively in the second half. For senior Combs, all of her points came in the final half of play.
In the second half of action, Fairmont State attacked the interior defense of Shepherd, and it paid off. The Fighting Falcons shot 49 percent from the floor and got to the foul line often as shown by 14 free throw attempts in the half. The Falcons converted on 11 of those attempts to help pull away from the Rams.
The leading scorer for the Rams in the loss was senior guard Cara Mason who notched 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Other notable contributors for Shepherd were senior forward Liz Myers and junior guard Morgan Arden as they tallied 15 and 14 points respectively.
The loss for the Rams snapped a late season four-game winning streak.
Rams Head Coach Jenna Eckleberry spoke about the season postgame when she said, “I look at it as two different seasons. We started off bad and finished strong and as a team. I think we have learned a lot of valuable lessons. I’m proud of the girls. We could have easily folded and threw in the towel but we battled back and went 10-5 in the last 15 games. We are looking forward to the conference tournament.”
When asked about the main challenge of preparing for a new season Eckleberry said, “Getting the girls in the gym consistently in the offseason. You get better and fine tune your game in the offseason by out working all the other players from other teams.”
Shepherd will play West Virginia Wesleyan on Wednesday, March 1, in the first round of the Mountain East Tournament.