PORTSMOUTH – That sound you just heard was another made three for the SSU women.
The 7th ranked Bears were on a heater Saturday afternoon in ‘The Cave’ just a day after their loss to 15th ranked Talladega (Ala.) on Friday night. The Jeff Nickel led Shawnee women’s team hit 9/21 three’s en route to an 82-52 win over the University of the Virgin Islands in the final game of the two day Penn Station Classic hosted by Shawnee State University.
“I thought we did a good job of moving the ball very well,” said Nickel following their win on Saturday. “I thought we did a really good job of playing as a team. It was a really good team win, and good to see us move the ball well. I felt like we had very good balance with our scoring, very happy with how we played.”
The balance is something that was key for Nickel’s group coming into Saturday’s game, and that balance paid off in a big way against UVI. Out of the 11 players on the Bear’s roster, 10 of them found their way into the scoring column for a very balanced effort.
“I thought the balance was very big for us,” said Nickel. “I was really proud of our efforts in the second half. We had that 17 point lead and cut it to ten before the break. I think we were able to figure out what they were doing and did a good job of adjusting in the second half. Very pleased with our defense, it’s something we’ve been trying to work on, and that showed today.”
Nickel is right. Along with the Bears’ excellent day from behind the arc, his team had a very good day on the defensive end by not allowing UVI to score more than 12 points in three of the four quarters Saturday afternoon.
For comparison’s sake, the Bears scored at least 17 in each of the four quarters, including a game high 26 points in the third quarter.
“I think we were devastated coming off of the lost yesterday and how we’ve been playing as a team and we just needed to start coming together,” said the Bears leading scorer Saturday afternoon with 21 points, Ashton Lovely. “Being able to share the basketball and share the scoring was something we had been struggling with, but that’s Shawnee basketball, sharing the ball. As long as we keep working on that, I think we’re well on our way to having a good season.”
As Nickel mentioned, the Bears held a ten point lead at the half time break, but really busted things open in the third quarter, outscoring UVI 26-12 coming out of the locker room which helped supplant their 30 point home win.
Lovely had a team high 21 points as well as dishing out 6 assists, and not far behind was Shania Massie with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Sienna King had a very solid overall game with 12 points 7 rebounds and 2 blocks, as well as Laken Smith’s efforts off the bench to contribute 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Moving forward, the women’s team will travel to the Caribbean where they will take part in the Porta Del Sol Shootout in Rincon, Puerto Rico for the second straight season. Nickel is hoping to take some of the positives from their most recent games into next weekend where he expects to find some stiff competition for his team to face.
“We’ve still got four games left this month before we get into conference play,” said Nickel. “A lot of balance in our conference this year. Two teams this year in Puerto Rico that are going to be very physical and play extremely hard, similar to what we played today. I expect them to be much improved after they weren’t able to get much practice in because of the hurricane and not having a gym, so I expect that to be a bigger challenge for us. We come back and play a WV. Tech team that’s getting better, and a Saint Francis (Ind.) team that was ranked at one point this year and is getting some votes. We’ve got some games where we’ve got to get to that point where we’re playing better and playing off each other, and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Final stats from @SSUWBB’s win over UVI:
SSU: 17-22-26-17 – 82
UVI: 12-17-12-11 – 52
SSU: 30/65 FGs, 9/21 3pts (Lovely 3) 13/19 FTs. Scoring – Lovely 21. Massie 15, King 12, Miller 10, Cummins 8, Schaefer 6, Holland 4, Bentkley 2, Zuchowski 2, Wingeier 2
UVI: 18/62 FGs, 7/27 3pts., (Hatfield 4) 9/13 FTs.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT