BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The women’s basketball program at Shawnee State utilized an outstanding defensive effort to spearhead a successful Mid-South Conference Quarterfinal showing against Cumberlands (Ky.), as the No. 5-seeded Bears held the No. 4-seeded Patriots to just 29 percent shooting from the field and an 11.8 percent shooting mark from distance in a 59-47 win Saturday evening in Bowling Green, Ky.
Shawnee State, who improved to 18-8 during the 2020-21 campaign with the victory, showcased an impressive defensive display across the board, winning the rebounding battle by a plus-eight margin (52-44) and holding Cumberlands, Ky. to just one team assist over the entire game, successfully frustrating the Patriots throughout the 40-minute affair.
“I believe that we did a really good job defensively,” Shawnee State head coach Jeff Nickel said. “We really limited their second-chance opportunities with our ability to box out and rebound. We got excellent efforts from the entire team. Our kids bought into our scout, and we did a good job of adjusting to what the gameplan was while the kids did an excellent job of carrying that out.”
Roney, Pride, Holland, Zuchowski help control paint
Behind their 25 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks combined, Carson Roney and Anyia Pride clearly proved that their All-MSC billings were not to be underestimated.
Roney, who led Shawnee State in scoring with 16 points on an efficient 7-of-13 from the field, notched 13 of her 16 tallies in the second half of action to help put the game away while Pride notched six of her 10 rebounds in the opening half and six of her nine points in the second half of play.
Beyond the main duo, the eighth-year head man at Shawnee State also singled out Marnae Holland and Natalie Zuchowski for their play off of the bench. Holland grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds in a team-high 27 minutes off of the bench while Zuchowski teamed with Pride and Roney to help hold Vilma and Carla Covane to just 14 points combined on 6-of-16 shooting.
“Marnae was really huge for us on the glass,” Nickel said. “I am really proud of her. She took advantage of her opportunities and got some huge rebounds on the glass. AP and Carson were really good on the glass and Natalie gave us good minutes as well. I’m really proud of all four of those kids and their effort.”
Snow gives SSU added boost offensively, Kallner posts strong defensive game
In addition to the four previously mentioned, Brandie Snow and Abbie Kallner also gave Shawnee State a tremendous lift with their own play.
Snow, not shy about filling up the stat sheet, compiled 15 points and 11 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season while also adding in a team-high five assists to the table. The junior now has 1,359 points, 592 rebounds and 281 assists for her Shawnee State career.
Kallner, meanwhile, was lauded by the Shawnee State staff for setting the table for SSU’s strong defensive effort at the top of the line. The sophomore point guard from Wheelersburg distributed the basketball in a solid manner as well, posting four assists while turning the ball over only once, and led the Bears by scoring four of her five points in the opening quarter to help give SSU a 10-7 first-quarter lead.
“We had outstanding individual defensive efforts,” Nickel said. “Abbie Kallner was one of those. She played an excellent defensive game for us in every way. Brandie’s attacking nature was great to see, and I believe we really fed off of that. We attacked the basket strong, attacked the post really well, and were really aggressive on offense in general. We missed shots, but we kept battling and fighting. If we missed a shot, we moved on and made the next play. I really felt that we played Shawnee State basketball today. We played like our teams have played in the past.”
With the victory, the Bears will look to knock off No. 1-seeded Thomas More, who also finished as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT. The first of the two 2021 Mid-South Conference Tournament Semifinals will be a rematch of last season’s Mid-South Conference Tournament Championship Game, where the Bears defeated the Saints, 81-72 to win their fifth Mid-South Conference Tournament Championship in six seasons.
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