PORTSMOUTH — For the second game in a row, the No. 9-ranked Shawnee State women’s basketball team came up with an outstanding defensive effort.
Likewise, the Bears were also able to collect their second straight victory of 20 or more points against a key conference opponent.
Jeff Nickel’s group held Martin Methodist to 18-of-60 shooting from the field (30-percent), dominated the glass by owning a 45-26 rebounding advantage (plus-19), and got a monstrous 29-point, 12-rebound effort from junior star Brandie Snow in a convincing 74-50 victory over the visiting RedHawks on Saturday afternoon at Waller Gymnasium in Portsmouth.
Shawnee State, which moved to 8-0 on the season and collected Nickel’s 203rd career win in the process, moved to 2-0 in Mid-South Conference action.
The Bears claimed a 16-15 lead after the opening quarter, and after briefly losing the lead at the start of the second quarter, never lost it again — going on a 16-2 run and leading throughout the contest’s final 28:24.
Along with holding Martin Methodist to its 30-percent shooting mark, Shawnee State forced 18 RedHawk turnovers and only gave up six assists on the afternoon — forcing Martin Methodist to settle for three times as many turnovers as actual assists.
“I was really proud of our defensive effort today, especially on (Martin Methodist forward Faith) Sherrow,” Nickel said. “Martin Methodist does a great job moving off of picks, staggers and down screens. We were engaged and active throughout the game, and that showed with our ability to fight off of their attempts to pick us and move without the basketball by limiting their air space over the duration of the game.”
Snow balls it up
From the start, Snow proved to be completely in control of the contest en route to her most impressive outing of the season and one of the best outings of her career.
Snow — who scored seven of Shawnee State’s first eight points — notched 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the opening half of action alone and added in 15 additional notches in the second half to go along with four rebounds.
Her 29 points and 12 rebounds were also buoyed by a five-steal effort, with Snow topping off that performance by notching four assists to just two turnovers for a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio.
“Brandie was outstanding,” Nickel said. “She had a great game, and was outstanding defensively as well as on the glass. She did a good job hitting the gaps and playing a controlled floor game. She never rushed her decisions, yet played hard and produced in a highly efficient manner.”
Despite free-throw shooting being somewhat of a sore spot for Shawnee State early in the season, the Bears showed no signs of weakness on Saturday, going 19-of-23 from the charity stripe.
Snow, who went 7-of-8 from the line, and Marnae Holland — who was the additional player to finish in double figures behind an 11-point outing and a 5-of-5 mark from the line — led the charge from that standpoint.
Megan Haines and Carson Roney also hit both of their attempts from the stripe.
“We definitely improved from the free-throw line,” Nickel said. “That was excellent for us. I thought that we did a good job of putting together four quarters of defense and played hard on both ends. When you’re performing in those two areas, you’re going to have a chance to not only be in a lot of ballgames, but win a lot of them as well.”
Anyia Pride’s nine points and nine rebounds also led SSU in the win.
The Shawnee State women have pending schedule changes that are expected to be made official within the coming days.
SSU is scheduled to return to conference action against Cumberland (Tenn.) on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. (central time) and Lindsey Wilson on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m. (central time).
“There’s just no off days in this league,” Nickel said. “No off days. We have to show up every single night and be able to execute the gameplan. Every week, there’s so much preparation because there’s so many good teams and so many really good coaches. It’s definitely imperative that we continue to put our best foot forward and bring our best effort to the floor each and every day.”
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