Little things mean a lot in Shepherd loss
The Shepherd women had lost 11 of their last 12 games. It was Charleston, another member of the Mountain East Conference, calling on the Rams at the subdued and sparsely-filled Butcher Center.
Shepherd had been close to the taste of a succulent win. But only the sweet odor of such a possibility had drifted toward the Rams.
Charleston had the ingredients to keep Shepherd rolling backwards and downhill. The Golden Eagles had the game’s quickest and most athletic player in Chyress Lockhart. Charleston was continually able to get better, higher-percentage shots. As per usual, Shepherd couldn’t find an offensive rebound.
It turned out to be a last-play game. Because Shepherd played with its always-present intensity and sent Charleston back on its heels in the fourth quarter, the Rams overcame most of an eight-point deficit after three periods . . . but then the last two shots missed badly and the Golden Eagles literally survived with a 70-69 victory that kept them just ahead of Shepherd in the league standings.
Liz Myers had done enough scoring to get the Rams a 28-26 lead at halftime.
But Charleston outgunned the hard-pressed home side by a 29-19 count in the mostly free-scoring third quarter.
Trailing, 55-47, when the last quarter opened, the Rams got some use from their fullcourt press, and finally pulled within two points when Cara Mason scored on a driving layup after a nice assist pass from Morgan Arden.
There were just four seconds to play when Charleston’s Kiara Johnson, the team’s second-leading scorer, missed two free throws with her team leading by only a point.
In a scrambled ending to another sad Shepherd tale, Arden reached the lane and attempted an on-the-move, lean-in eight-footer. Arden’s shot missed . . . and the Rams had to accept a one-point defeat that further kept them near the bottom of the conference standings.
Lockhart had been just enough difference in the game.
Shepherd’s fourth quarter comeback had been just inches shy of its goal.
And the Rams were 5-20 overall and 4-15 in the Mountain East standings.