The Shippensburg University women’s basketball team built a 10-point halftime lead and closed strong in the fourth quarter to rally past Shepherd, 76-54, in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division contest Wednesday night at Butcher Athletic Center.
Shippensburg (22-5, 17-4 PSAC) fell behind early, as Shepherd (1-25, 1-20) started the game on a 5-0 run. It seemed the Rams could not miss, shooting six three-pointers in the first half. The Raiders started to take control of the game early in the second quarter and built a double-digit lead heading into halftime. SU outscored the Rams 23-7 in the fourth quarter and held the hosts without a field goal over the final nine minutes of the contest.
The Raider victory marked Head Coach Kristy Trn’s 400th career win. She becomes the 26th active coach in NCAA Division II with 400 wins and is now the second in the PSAC to achieve the feat.
Shippensburg never trailed in the second half. Its defensive adjustments forced Shepherd to struggle from the three-point line, shooting 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) in the final two quarters, including 0-for-8 in the fourth.
Senior Ariel Jones (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) was hot from the field for the Raiders in the first half, scoring 18 of her game-high 41 points. Jones’ 41 points puts her first all-time in program history in career field goals made (810), which was previously held by Lauren Beckley (806). She was also one rebound shy of a double-double with nine. Jones tied a career high with six steals and had three assists.
SU shot a season-high 92 percent from the free-throw line (24-of-26), with Jones making 13-of-14 herself at the line.
Graduate Lauren Pettis (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) added nine points and seven rebounds. Graduate Mya Woodyard (Harrisburg, Pa./Sci-Tech (California (Pa.))) went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and finished the game with seven points. She also added three rebounds.
Sophomore Abbie Miller (Camp Hill, Pa./Cumberland Valley) and junior Treasure George (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) each added six points. Miller brought down six boards.
Graduate Erin Gibbons (Swoyersville, Pa./Wyoming Valley West (Mansfield)) contributed five points, five rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Eve Nealon (Limerick, Ireland/The Hill School (Pa.)) went a perfect 2-2 from the free throw line in the final minutes.
Shippensburg is back at Heiges Field House this Saturday at 1 p.m. for Senior Day and its final game of the regular season.