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First half enough to move Shepherd past Yellow Jackets

By Staff | Dec 12, 2014

Shepherd’s mild first half performance where seven players contributed to the scoring was enough to carry it past visiting West Virginia State, 58-53, in a women’s basketball game where both teams had trouble finding points.

The Mountain East Conference win snapped Shepherd’s two-game losing skid against classy PSAC rivals Indiana and California and improved its overall record to 5-2 — one more win than the Rams managed last season.

The Rams had a 14-point lead by halftime, getting at least four points from Cara Mason, Rachel Johnson, Liz Myers, Alex Weakland, Morgan Arden, Hailey Brown and Kristina Prange.

If the Yellow Jackets hadn’t claimed enough offensive rebounds to partially offset their 27 percent shooting from the field and 7-for-14 showing from the foul line, Shepherd’s lead would have been even longer.

The Rams needed the 14-point halftime lead because their collective hands went cold throughout all of the second half. There were only six field goals by the team. And only 21 points in those 20 minutes.

Yet the Rams won. Partially because West Virginia State did not attempt any free throws in the last half, and partially because the visitors finished their loss with 24 turnovers compared with Shepherd’s 11 turnovers. The Yellow Jackets, now with a 2-4 overall record, outrebounded Shepherd, 26-13, in the second half to give themselves some chance to win.

Shepherd had used a halfcourt zone defense to slow the Yellow Jacket rise in the last seven minutes. The number of possessions for each team was lowered and the Yellow Jackets simply ran out of time in their quest to erase all of Shepherd’s first-half cushion.

Six players did contribute to Shepherd’s 21 points in the second half, but the Rams finished the night making only 32 percent of their field goal attempts.

Scoring the game’s first six points, and then getting a 21-10 lead had been enough for the Rams to hold off the much-later Yellow Jacket movement.