Critical weekend here for Shepherd women
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The home court at the Butcher Center has been a comfortable friend.
None of the non-conference opponents has solved Shepherd well enough to beat the Rams.
The only loss was by stormy Lake Erie to Mercyhurst in far northwestern Pennsylvania.
Conference wins have come at the expense of Edinboro (on the road) and Slippery Rock (at home).
It isn’t quite Christmas as yet, but this weekend presents the Shepherd women with an opportunity to bring holiday cheer just a little early.
Shepherd is 8-1 overall and has won all six of its home games. The Rams are 2-1 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference games.
And now come the tests. Not the final exams closing out the first semester, but on-court tests against high-flying Indiana and the equally soaring Griffins of Seton Hill.
Indiana had an 8-1 overall record thru games of Dec. 15. The Crimson Hawks were 3-0 against conference competition. Seton Hill was 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the West Division of the league.
Indiana and Shepherd meet at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Butcher Center. And then Seton Hill faces Shepherd tomorrow at 4 p.m. in still another crucial conference game.
There won’t be any tinsel, figgy pudding or mince pie this weekend. But there should be an air of basketball importance and some special attention paid to these two games.
Shepherd will come in with three freshmen playing significant roles. None were associated with Shepherd’s final season in the Mountain East Conference or the 11-18 record the Rams were burdened with last year.
Abby Beeman (Frankfort High) has averaged 20.1 points in her first nine college games. She has been even better in the conference games, averaging 29 points in those three outings. Another freshman, Jordan Smith, scores 7.2 points a game. She’s from Manassas, Va. and is a usual starter. The third freshman of note is Cara Minor from North Marion High. Minor has played in all nine games and averages 3.8 points.
The teams’ leading scorer has been Marley McLaughlin with her 20.7 points a game. Sydney Clayton has also been a reliable and consistent scorer with her 15.2 average.
Mahdi White, Hannah Myers, Anna Ross and Angela DeLorenzo have all appeared in every game to date.
The Rams have yet to see any team from their own East Division of the conference, but none of those teams has done as well as either Indiana or Seton Hill in games to date.
There are eight other teams in the East Division and each one will be played two times for a total of 16 games in the East Division infighting.
Shepherd has prospered in its early-season matches outside the PSAC. Let’s see what it does at home against the best league has to offer.