Flying start gets Rams past West Virginia State
SHEPHERDSTOWN — With Kayla Tibbs scoring freely and the team making its first five field goal attempts, Shepherd staggered West Virginia State in the very beginning of the women’s basketball game last Saturday at the Butcher Center.
Tibbs had nine points in the opening minutes, Shepherd roared out to a 14-3 lead, and the Rams moved to a nine-point lead after one quarter in the MEC game, where Shepherd eventually carried off an 84-74 win to open it league schedule.
Tibbs had already notched 18 points (on 7-for-10 shooting from the field) by halftime. She finished with 30 points. The Rams went 15-of-18 from the foul line in the second half, to maintain their earlier hard-won lead.
After paring away a little of Shepherd’s earlier lead by halftime, the Yellowjackets squandered their gains when they could not score in the first 3:23 of the third quarter.
Shepherd would gradually extend its five-point halftime advantage to 60-46 after three quarters.
West Virginia State had employed coach Charles Marshalls full court zone press from the outset, but the Rams didn’t buckle against it the way other Shepherd teams had when Marshall was at Glenville.
As the tempo had been when the game was in its infancy, Shepherd outpointed the Yellowjackets, 12-4, to begin the third period.
In the second half, Shepherd’s Sydney Clayton shot well from the field (going 7-for-11 from the floor in all) and boosted her scoring total to 15 points, while also gathering 10 rebounds.
Marshall reverted to his usual platoon system of substituting five new players at a time, but with leading scorer Anesha Harmon missing the entire second half with a lower leg problem, the strategy was mostly ineffective.
Although Liz Moormann and Kari Lankford were a combined 9-for-20 from the foul line, the rest of the Rams were 6-for-7.
Shepherd moved to 3-1 overall and readied for another conference game this past Monday, when Charleston visited. The Yellowjackets were 1-2 with the loss.
Tibbs had burned West Virginia State early and often. And the Rams did not bend or break against Marshall’s zone press defense.