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Lack of rebounding, inside defense leave Shepherd women with losses

By Staff | Nov 20, 2015

A glaring lack of rebounding and inside defense left the Shepherd women with two losses as the basketball season began on a down note when Virginia Union tamed the Rams, 96-88, in overtime on Saturday and Winston-Salem State cruised to a comfortable, 68-46, win on Sunday at the Butcher Center.

Even though it could never slow Virginia Union’s scoring from its forwards and centers, Shepherd could have won that game because the Panthers missed so many free throws and showed a porous defense themselves.

Shepherd had 13 consecutive points in the third quarter to reverse a five-point halftime deficit, and then scored the first six points in the fourth quarter to take a short-lived 65-58 lead.

Even with less than a minute remaining in regulation, the Rams had a 79-74 lead but the Panthers scored the last five points before the horn sounded just after the Rams’ Kristen Nunn missed an open 18-footer that forced an overtime.

Virginia Union continued its inside avalanche of points to pull away to its eight-point win.

Nunn, Liz Myers and Morgan Arden all scored at least 20 points for Shepherd, but only Myers could make the majority of her shot attempts.

Shepherd was outrebounded, 54-35, and had 22 turnovers. The winning Panthers had 27 turnovers and still won because of their lopsided rebounding advantage.

Lady Walker, a 6-foot-2 center, had 20 rebounds and 25 points for Virginia Union and her three-point, outside scoring accounted for nearly all the baskets the Panthers had that weren’t counted from inside four-feet.

In Sunday’s loss to Winston-Salem State, the Rams fell back very early and were victimized by poor shooting from the field, too many unforced turnovers and a definitive rebounding deficit.

Winston-Salem grabbed a 20-8 lead after one quarter with a continuous barrage of inside scoring.

Shepherd missed often and it could claim only two offensive rebounds in the first half.

Trailing badly, 37-19, by halftime, Shepherd couldn’t change Winston-Salem’s concentration on scoring close to the basket throughout the nearly identical second half.

Only Myers provided Shepherd with much scoring or much rebounding. She forced her way through the taller Winston-Salem front line for 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting from floor and claimed nine rebounds.

Winston-Salem owned a prohibitive 49-27 edge in rebounds. Shepherd made 32 percent of its shots, and other than Myers, the rest of the team collectively made 26 percent of their field goal attempts.

Shepherd received very little from its short-in-number reserves and many of its starters made less than 30 percent of their field goal attempts.

There were only nine Shepherd players dressed and transfer Kayla Tibbs and returnee Kristine Prange were in civilian clothes on the bench and not available.

Both opponents had nearly carte blanche inside against the Rams . . . and their rebounding dominated both games.