Fun from beginning to end for Shepherd women
When a malfunctioning computer couldn’t play the National Anthem to begin the Shepherd vs. West Virginia Wesleyan women’s basketball game, the Rams chanted the name of men’s player Kevin Jones, wanting him to do the same singing he had done on Senior Night only days before. Jones did his stirring rendition. And then Shepherd had more lighthearted moments during an 86-66 win over the Bobcats.
Smiles and any late-game levity have been severely lacking during Shepherd’s 4-21 record season.
But when junior center Gabby Flinchum neared a milestone in her career in the last throes of the night, the Shepherd sideline was lively with hand-clapping, constant cheering and enthusiasm
Flinchum was only points away from scoring the 1,000th point of her career. She got a final layup inside the 10-second mark, giving her a night full with 28 points and providing more smiles to a season that hasn’t been awash with success or much fun.
West Virginia Wesleyan continually showed the reasons it remained winless at 0-21 in Mountain East Conference games. The Bobcats had no perimeter scorers to speak of and were always lacking in any defensive measures to slow the Rams. The visitors’ points came from Kiki DeVane (6-of-12 from the foul line) fellow inside player, Brittany Williams.
While Flinchum was progressing toward her 28 points, the Rams had Rachel Johnson scoring throughout in measured doses. Johnson finished with 21 points and only missed four of her 13 shots.
With Cara Mason, Alex Weakland and Jimyse Brown giving the Flinchum-Johnson duo able scoring help, the Rams moved to a 44-29 lead by halftime.
The same fivesome of contributors eased the Rams to a more comfortable 71-49 lead with only 6:50 to play, easily overshadowing in importance the eight turnovers of Briana Vaden.
After Flinchum’s final layup had fallen through and she had attained her 1,000th point, the Shepherd shooting statistics showed the Rams connecting on 55 percent of their field goal attempts. There were seven more rebounds than the luckless Bobcats had claimed.
The fun had its unexpected beginning when Jones was summoned by the chanting Rams to sing the Star Spangled Banner. It only ended with Flinchum’s 1,000th point, scored as the loud urging from the Shepherd bench area continued until the end of the team’s 20-point victory.