Shepherd thrives against Millersville defense
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shooting a telling 57 percent from the field in the first half, Shepherd plundered the Millersville defense in assuming a 14-point lead by halftime.
And then the visiting Marauders meandered out to the court following the intermission between halves and never warmed up.
Shepherd exploited the punchless Marauders, scoring the first dozen points of the second half to float away to a convincing 26-point lead.
By the time late in the last quarter when freshman point guard Abby Beeman had connected on 7-of-8 field goals attempts in the last half, she had literally amassed 38 points in pacing the Rams to a 96-62 PSAC victory that brought them to within one win of the 20-win mark for the 2019-20 season.
Beeman finished her career-high night with a 14-for-18 showing from the field, as well as 5-for-5 perfection from the foul line.
She was joined by the hot-shooting antics of Marley McLaughlin (8-for-10 and 21 points) and Sydney Clayton (9-for-15 and 20 points) in punishing the wobbly Marauders. Shepherd went to 19-6 overall and 13-6 in its PSAC games, while Millersville left the bubbly Butcher Center with a 8-17 overall record and a 5-15 conference showing.
The high-scoring Shepherd threesome of Beeman, McLaughlin and Clayton were 31-for-43 from the floor as a lethal-scoring group.
Shepherd finished the blowout shooting 58 percent from the floor, 57 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the free throw line.
Throughout the first quarter, Shepherd’s pressure defense kept the ball out of the hands of Lauren Lister in Millersville’s offensive end. Lister came in average 25 points a game. Not only did Lister find only a scant few shot opportunities, the Marauders frittered away too many turnovers with 10 in the first half.
Shepherd has clinched one of the six PSAC East Division post-season tournament berths with three regular season games remaining.
Once Millersville fell back by 26 points, the rout was in full motion. Shepherd led, 70-39, after three quarters.
Beeman was called to the sidelines with 3:59 left, playing 36 minutes instead of the full 40 minutes she usually sees.
The Rams will conclude the regular season on Saturday at 1 p.m. at home in the Butcher Center against last-place Mansfield.
In one of the more eye-opening turnarounds in the NCAA Division II ranks this season, Shepherd has gone from an 11-18 record last year to a halcyon campaign where it will win at least 20 games this time around.