Seventh straight win for Shepherd women
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The outcome resembled an end-of-season tournament game. “Win . . . and move on!” Never mind the aesthetics of the game. Did you win?
Shepherd defeated visiting West Chester, 71-66, after a forlorn first quarter where the Rams, then 18-5 overall and 12-5 in the PSAC, trailed 17-8 after missing all six of their long-range field goal attempts.
Turnovers bothered the Rams. The usually clawing defense that riles most opponents was never on display. And the team’s energy level never bubbled.
Then the Rams first initiated a full court press. The game’s tempo was quickened. Shepherd made nine of 16 field goal tries and outscored the faltering Golden Rams, 25-10, in the period to ease out to a 33-17 halftime lead.
Neither team had committed a foul in the first quarter, and by halftime there had been only 10 free throws attempted between the teams.
A plus for the win-streak-showing Rams was the 14 minutes played by Cara Minor, who was injured and sidelined for all of the first semester.
Would Shepherd have the earlier-this-season look of a hustling, scrambling underdog when the second half opened? The Rams scored three points in the first five minutes to show the same plodding face they wore in the first half.
West Chester tried a fullcourt press of its own, but there was no juice to it and it fizzled into nothing before the Golden Rams thought better of the plan.
Shepherd even increased its still-precarious lead to end the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Abby Beeman and Sydney Clayton loaded the scorebook with points and Beeman was fouled repeatedly. Beeman would complete her 40-minute journey showing 10-for-10 at the foul line and with 22 points. Clayton totaled 25 points and eight rebounds, going 10-for-13 from the field.
No matter the style points that weren’t earned, the win was Shepherd’s seventh straight.
It was not a tournament game. But Shepherd won to stay within a shadow of Division-leading Shippensburg. And the Rams moved on to the next stop on their schedule (a game at Kutztown), the same as in the post-season when every win takes on the shiny appearance of a season-saving success.