In their Atlantic Regional quarterfinal match at Glenville State’s Waco Center on Friday night, the Shippensburg University women’s basketball team secured their first NCAA Tournament win in 21 years by beating West Virginia State 87-83. With this victory, Shippensburg (25-6) advances to the NCAA Atlantic Region semifinals at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, where they will face Glenville State (30-2), the reigning national champions and host team. Glenville State beat eighth-seeded Elizabeth City State, 84-60, in their quarterfinal match, pulling away in the second half after leading by only four points at halftime.
After a closely contested first half on Friday night, which ended with a two-point lead for the Raiders (40-38), Shippensburg dominated the third quarter with a 10-2 run to take a 50-40 lead. They maintained a comfortable lead of 12 points with just five minutes remaining in the game, but a 9-0 run by West Virginia State made it a one-possession game entering the final minute.
In the end, Shippensburg secured the win by making 6-of-8 free throws in the final minute, including all four attempts by senior Ariel Jones (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) in the last 17 seconds. Jones, who scored 25 points, was the game’s top scorer, with 13 of those points coming in the fourth quarter, including two threes, a layup, and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. Jones also recorded her fifth double-double of the season, with 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Graduate Erin Gibbons (Swoyersville, Pa./Wyoming Valley West (Mansfield)) contributed 15 points, making 6-of-7 from the field, including an efficient 3-of-4 from three-point range. Junior Treasure George (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) had 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while sophomore Abbie Miller (Camp Hill, Pa./Cumberland Valley) scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting and had six rebounds.
Despite some foul trouble, senior Lauren Pettis (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) managed eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore Taja Colbert (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) scored six points, while graduate Mya Woodyard (Harrisburg, Pa./Sci-Tech (California (Pa.))) and freshman Ellie Goodwin (Camp Hill, Pa./Camp Hill) finished with four points each, going 2-of-3 from the field.
West Virginia State (22-7), the nation’s top-scoring offense (91.5) and rebounding (51.3) team, was held to just 29.3 percent shooting by Shippensburg’s defense. Although the Yellow Jackets missed 65 shots, their high-volume shooting still resulted in 11 three-pointers and an 18-of-22 (81.2 percent) rate at the free-throw line. Emyah Fortenberry led West Virginia State with 16 points and 22 rebounds.
Despite West Virginia State’s ranking as the nation’s second-best team at forcing turnovers, Shippensburg finished the game with 16 assists compared to 15 turnovers. Shippensburg also scored 50 points in the paint and out-transitioned West Virginia State to the tune of 21 fast-break points.
With this win, Shippensburg’s NCAA Tournament record improves to 12-9. This victory ends a three-game