Indiana’s work for three quarters carries Crimson Hawks
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Leading by 24 points after the first three quarters carried Indiana’s once-beaten Crimson Hawks to a women’s basketball win over Shepherd.
The final count was established on the overhead scoreboard. The lights said: Guests 91, Rams 76. Even though the Rams had registered 31 points in the fourth quarter, Indiana had done enough in the first 30 minutes to mute the Shepherd comeback.
Scoring 13 of the first quarter’s last 17 points had the Crimson Hawks with a 23-13 lead.
The lead had ballooned to 18 points (at 47-29) by halftime.
And it was 69-45 after three quarters of systematic and well-orchestrated play by the visiting Crimson Hawks.
Indiana is a well-recognized national power, visiting the NCAA Division II version of the Final Four with regularity.
Shepherd is coming off an 11-18 season a year ago.
In winning eight of its previous nine games, Shepherd had presented a trio of trusted scorers in Abby Beeman, Marley McLaughlin and Sydney Clayton.
But against the taller and deeper Crimson Hawks, McLaughlin was in constant foul trouble, playing only 10 minutes in the first half and then drawing her fourth foul with fully 4:26 left in the third quarter. She eventually scored 12 points, but only four came in the second half.
Clayton was all but unseen in the first half when Indiana was marching out to its 18-point lead. She had three points at halftime, but then actually controlled much of the fourth period when the Rams were adding their 31 points.
Beeman had 18 of Shepherd’s 29 first-half points. She added another 17 points in the second half, making 13 of her 21 field goal attempts on the night.
Facing a 15-point deficit that ranged as far away as 24 points, Shepherd unfolded a full-court, zone press that harassed the Indiana ball handlers in their back court.
The game’s face became one where each team’s players were scattered from one end to the other, making scoring easier with the first appearance of either open or barely contested shot-attempts.
Shepherd caused Indiana turnovers in the last quarter and used the steals to score in-close and chop points off the Crimson Hawk lead. Indiana committed 23 turnovers before moving past the finish line with a 15-point victory.
The loss was only the second stain on Shepherd’s 8-2 overall record, while the Crimson Hawks went to 9-1 overall.
The Shepherd trio of Beeman, McLaughlin and Clayton had to be near-perfect for Shepherd to have won, because the other five players the Rams used scored 11 points as a group. Indiana had four players in double figures and four others score points.