Wheeling Jesuit cruises past 20-loss Rams
Wheeling Jesuit showed Shepherd a 13-player roster without a single team member from the state of West Virginia.
And then the Cardinals showed the Rams’ women a zone defense that became a deep and unsolved mystery to Shepherd.
Wheeling Jesuit’s dominant 93-60 win was just more evidence to the much-troubled season the Shepherd women have seen.
The loss was actually Shepherd’s 20th of the year. And the 11th consecutive defeat left the overall record at 2-20. The Cardinals edged past the break-even mark at 12-11 overall.
A mobile, 2-3 halfcourt zone employed by the Cardinals quickly became a bane for Shepherd, a team already in a free-fall with its season-long turnovers, spotty field goal shooting and porous defenses.
Before the end came, Shepherd had lost 30 turnovers, most of them against a halfcourt defense.
At times, it appeared that the Cards’ Jaila Bryant, Jaana Motton and Breanna Butler were taking turns scoring or rebounding against the Rams. Bryant totaled 18 points, Motton had 13 and Butler finished with 17 points even though Wheeling Jesuit coach Debbie Buff gave all 13 of her players at least six minutes of playing time.
Without its lone senior — Jimyse Brown — and lithe scorer, Rachel Johnson, Shepherd would have been even less competitive. Brown had 15 points and a team-leading six rebounds in her Senior Night swansong. Johnson gave the Rams some steady work, scoring throughout (17 points) and finding four rebounds.
Wheeling Jesuit’s lead could have easily been more than the 48-30 advantage it had by halftime.
The 33-point difference was enhanced in the last stages by Wheeling Jesuit’s final five players off Buff’s long bench.
Brown and Johnson combined to go 12-for-21 from the field, while Shepherd’s other eight players were 8-for-41 (19 percent) as a group.
Shepherd showed how difficult overcoming a staggering 30 turnovers with 38 percent shooting on only 53 field goal attempts could be.
The game was slowed by the numerous fouls that had both teams in the double bonus at the foul line in the first half. Wheeling Jesuit went 26-for-34 from the free throw line while Shepherd was a credible 17-for-20 on its fewer attempts.
A 2-3 halfcourt Cardinal zone defense went completely unsolved by Shepherd.
Wheeling Jesuit, which came into Saturday’s game in eighth place in the 12-team league, stayed in place even though it had romped past the Rams by 33 points.