Inexperience catches Shepherd at close of loss
Inexperience can be the great equalizer in any game at any level of competition.
Young players can have abilities and useful attributes . . . but they don’t possess the knowhow learned through years of playing in certain situations.
In Shepherd’s 87-75 women’s basketball lose to visiting Urbana, the youthful Rams menaced the more mature Ohio team for most of the 40 minutes, but in the end Shepherd faltered and had no way to contradict the Blue Knights’ classes of junior and senior players.
After scoring the first eight points of the second half, Shepherd had a 47-41 lead . . . but it quickly melted away as Urbana’s variety of dribble drives, cuts through the lane and individual moves by its centers gave it high-percentage shot-attempts and another lead it wouldn’t squander in the fourth quarter.
Shepherd would be outscored 46-28 over the Mountain East Conference game’s last 16 minutes.
Even in the fourth period, the Rams were trailing by only three points, but the three freshmen on the floor could not continue their chasing of the scant Urbana lead.
In twin testaments to Urbana’s experience advantage, the Blue Knights had Kennedy Boggs and Tori Purk both move past the 1,000-point mark in their careers in the last quarter.
Cara Mason had sparked Shepherd for fully one half with her best minutes of the season. When Mason’s scoring star was eclipsed in the second half, both Liz Myers and Morgan Arden kept the Shepherd offense humming along.
But Urbana had more rebounds — Shepherd has been outrebounded in all its 15 games of the season — made 85 percent of its 20 free throws and 50 percent of its 64 field goal attempts.
The Rams fell to 4-11 overall with Mason (20 points), Myers (17 points), Arden (16 points) and Kari Lankford (10 points) providing the majority of the scoring. Freshman Tiffany McKinney was a helpful spark off the bench with her peppery 25 minutes of playing time.
In the final reckoning, a general lack of experience cost Shepherd more than any other facet of its latest loss.