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Offense fails Rams in women’s loss to Wheeling Jesuit

By Staff | Feb 2, 2018

When Morgan Arden couldn’t get enough shots against the Wheeling Jesuit defense, Shepherd had precious little chance to score.

Arden, whose forte in a halfcourt offense is shooting stand-still set shots, searched and searched for her opportunities, but couldn’t get many as the hard-pressed Rams fell to the Cardinals, 63-50, in a conference game last Saturday at the mostly quiet Butcher Center.

Without Arden as its wellspring of scoring, Shepherd managed only seven points in the second quarter and a game-deciding five points in a mostly barren third quarter. Arden attempted just 11 shots.

Even with a scoring sprint of sorts in the fourth quarter, the Rams couldn’t overcome Wheeling Jesuit’s 19-point lead after three periods.

Both teams entered the afternoon with losing records. Shepherd’s third straight loss left it with a 9-11 overall mark and a 5-9 Mountain East Conference record. The Cardinals left Shepherdstown with a 9-11 overall mark and a 7-7 league record.

After consecutive losses on the road to Fairmont and West Liberty, the Rams moved some previous starters to the bench and tried a new face in an effort to get more scoring.

In a first half that moved along smoothly enough with few turnovers by either side, Wheeling Jesuit used its dominant defensive rebounds to carry a slender 32-26 lead into halftime.

After the intermission, the Cardinals came out with much more verve and energy than the Rams carried with them.

Outscoring the Rams, 18-5, in the third period provided the Cardinals with more than enough room for error or to offset stagnate scoring.

Turnovers had sprouted in alarming numbers and became a theme in the second half. The game-winning Cardinals finished with 27 turnovers while Shepherd committed 21 floor errors to further poison its chances, already harmed by a low percentage on its field goal attempts and by trying only 11 free throws.

Shepherd’s high-water mark came with only 3:03 remaining, when Kari Lankford made a steal and scored to bring back the Wheeling Jesuit lead to 56-46. The Rams could get no closer to ending their smallish losing streak.