RIO GRANDE — A storied player eclipsing the 1,000-point mark, a storied coach winning his 200th career game, and another talent matching her career-high — all against an archrival?
That’s a pretty good day at the office to say the least — but one that’s come to be expected from the No. 9-ranked Shawnee State women’s basketball program.
Outside of a Kaylie Apperson bucket with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter that tied the score at two apiece, Shawnee State never allowed Rio Grande to threaten its advantage — and the visiting Bears never trailed in the 85-63 victory over the RedStorm on Thursday evening.
The milestones: SSU head coach Jeff Nickel winning his 200th game, Brandie Snow notching a 24-point outing to finish with 1,003 points for her career, and Marnae Holland adding in 20 points to match a career-high in that category.
In securing the sizable win, SSU shot 48-percent from the floor (36-of-75), held the RedStorm to 36.2-percent shooting (25-of-69) including a 2-of-15 mark from three-point range, and forced 28 turnovers in the victory.
Shawnee State moved to a dominating 49-6 all-time against Rio Grande with the triumph.
Snow finds path to 1,000
Dominant throughout the 22-point win, Brandie Snow faced little trouble in reaching a significant career milestone.
The two-time NAIA Honorable Mention All-American and first-team all-MSC recipient notched 13 points and six rebounds in the opening half alone — putting herself within eight points of the feat after the opening 20 minutes of action.
She then added in 11 tallies in the final 20 minutes of action to finish with her 24 total.
Snow — who now has 1,003 points for her career — also ended up finishing with eight rebounds, a season-high seven steals, and six assists to obtain a complete statline.
She did all of this while shooting a strong 50-percent from the field (10-of-20) in 32 minutes of playing time.
“Brandie’s a great person,” Nickel said. “She’s had to really work hard for this milestone and accomplishment. I’m so proud of the mother, player, teammate and individual that she’s grown into and become. To watch her achieve a goal of hers is special, especially on this night. I’m extremely proud of her.”
Holland posts career night
While Snow’s output was certainly the main headline, Marnae Holland’s efforts — especially in the second quarter — were lost on no one.
With a slim 22-18 advantage after the opening quarter, and needing a major lift after a second frame where the Bears didn’t score for nearly four full minutes to begin the 10-minute stanza, Holland helped close the quarter with a fury — knocking down five of her seven shots from the floor and going 4-of-6 from the free-throw line to post a team-high 14 points at the half.
The 5-11 guard from Strongsville High School in Northeastern Ohio matched her career-high point total — a 20-piece against Brescia (Ky.) — with a 20-point night on 8-of-13 shooting, adding in three rebounds to boot in an efficient 18-minute outing.
“Marnae played really, really aggressive and went out there and played with a lot of heart,” Nickel said. “She gave us great energy and the edge that we needed to finish the first half strong, and get us out and running in general. She’s a great kid and I’m really happy and proud of her performance.”
Roney delivers again
With a one-point outing at halftime, Carson Roney again delivered in the second half to finish in double figures for the fifth consecutive game to start the year.
The only player on the roster to finish in double figures in each of Shawnee State’s five contests so far this season, Roney recovered from an 0-of-4 shooting performance in the opening half by shooting 6-of-8 in the second 20 minutes — finishing with a 13-point, seven-rebound night.
The senior also added in two steals and a block to produce on the defensive end as well.
Nickel making statement
With his 200th career victory, Jeff Nickel made a serious statement.
In Robin Hagen-Smith’s impressive Hall of Fame career, the latter reached 200 wins in 260 games.
Nickel, meanwhile, beat Smith’s enormously impressive total, reaching 200 wins in only his 251st career head coaching appearance.
The win adds to the legacy of a program that, between the two, has won an incredible 838 games to just 211 losses.
The women’s basketball program — which has won 14 regular-season conference championships, 15 conference tournament championships and one NAIA National Championship — now holds a 79.9 winning percentage, the best of any women’s college basketball program in Ohio.
“The opportunity to lead such a storied program is an honor in and of itself,” Nickel said. “Accomplishing this milestone is all a credit to the players and assistants who have coached with me. They have made this accomplishment not only possible, but enjoyable. To have my son and family see this milestone, and to see us developing a standard and growing upon it is special to behold. I can’t thank them enough. With all of that said, in addition to defeating Rio Grande, this is certainly a special night for our entire program.”
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