PORTSMOUTH — The No. 7-ranked Shawnee State women’s basketball team got a massive 35-point, 13-rebound effort from Brandie Snow while Indiana natives Erika Hendrixson and Bethany Mackin made critical plays at key stops in a Mid-South Conference contest against the Cumberlands (Ky.) — giving the Bears a 77-69 victory over the visiting Patriots on Thursday evening at Waller Gymnasium in Portsmouth.
Shawnee State, which improved to 10-2 and 4-2 in the MSC, overcame a 34-percent shooting deficit and a 56-44 rebounding disadvantage by forcing 19 turnovers and using the aforementioned trio’s attacking abilities to get to the free-throw line 41 times in handing the Patriots their first loss of the year.
in career night
From the outset, Snow set herself up to have a big afternoon inside the Waller Gymnasium confines en route to posting game-highs in points, rebounds and assists.
The junior guard scored or assisted on each of Shawnee State’s first 12 points, and put together a well-balanced and efficient scoring outing by notching 18 first-half points followed by 17 second-half tallies to finish with her new career-high (35) on 9-of-19 shooting — and an outstanding 15-of-16 mark from the free-throw line.
Snow especially came up big in crunch time — notching 12 of her 17 second-half points in the fourth quarter, and eight of those markers in the final 2:45 to help put the game away.
Snow added in eight of her 13 rebounds in the second half, and posted five of her seven assists in the opening 20 minutes of action.
“She (Snow) was spectacular tonight,” SSU coach Jeff Nickel said. “She did a great job rebounding the basketball, was really effective on offense, and made huge free throws and key plays for us both ways throughout the game. Just a fantastic effort.”
Hendrixson huge off bench
Having not yet scored a point during her Shawnee State career, Erika Hendrixson’s effort off the bench proved to be game-changing.
The junior forward notched 11 points and five rebounds to lead the frontline contingent, but it was her two difference-making offensive plays in a 23-second span during the fourth quarter that proved vital.
With less than 2:15 to play, Hendrixson received a pass at the high post and finished through contact for an and-one opportunity.
Even though Hendrixson missed the ensuing free throw, the Petersburg, Ind. native put SSU up three and set herself up for another big bucket on the left wing off a pass from Snow, scoring five points in a 23-second span and putting the Bears up by a 71-67 margin in the process.
The Patriots never came closer than four points the rest of the way.
“Erika stepped up big time and played really big minutes,” Nickel said. “She boxed out and defended really well for us. She’s been dealing with an injury and has been rehabbing from that, so she’s been behind a little bit, but watching her compete and fight, it showed that she’s been listening to the details that we have went over and discussed at practice. She was huge for us.”
Mackin finds solid rhythm,
Schaefer steps up big off pine
Along with playing 31 minutes, Mackin proved to be equal parts efficient and durable in a physical contest on Thursday afternoon.
The sophomore from Martinsville, Ind. finished the contest with 11 points and four rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, and notched all three of her steals in the opening half while effectively playing passing lanes.
Mackin posted nine of her 11 tallies in the second half in the victory, and was part of a defensive effort that helped hold star off-guard Reagan Begole to just two points.
“Bethany had a really solid performance,” Nickel said. “She did a great job defensively and played really sound basketball throughout. Our entire group is growing and is developing great chemistry with one another, and that was certainly evident today.”
Following Mackin, Hagen Schaefer stepped in and provided crucial minutes, knocking down her only official three-point attempt from the right wing in the first half and going 3-of-5 from the free-throw line, including drawing a foul on another three-pointer with no time left in the third quarter to tie the score at 52 apiece.
The senior finished with six points in all.
“Hagen was really good tonight,” Nickel said. “She hit a big three-pointer for us and played very hard defensively, making a couple of huge defensive plays. I was really proud of how hard and disciplined she played in her minutes.”
Shawnee State (10-2, 4-2 MSC) is off until Thursday (Jan. 7) — when the Bears take on Georgetown in a 5:30 p.m. contest at Waller Gymnasium.
That affair is followed by a massive tilt against No. 4 Campbellsville at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve got a few days off to get ready and rest for Thursday’s and Saturday’s games here at home,” Nickel said. “Georgetown’s only played four or five games so far but are going to be in a groove by the time that we play them, and Campbellsville is a great basketball program that always brings its best. We’re looking forward to the opportunities in front of us to get better and keep working.”
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