The recent defensive performances of the California Vulcans women’s basketball team have given its supporters some flashbacks. Flashbacks to the suffocating defense the Vulcans played last season on their way to the National Championship.
California maintained their sole possession of first place in the PSAC West with a manhandling of Slippery Rock Wednesday night by a score of 70-45 at the Convocation Center. The Vulcans were led with double-doubles from Seairra Barrett and Shatara Parsons, who combined for 30 points and 25 rebounds and also seven blocks. For Barrett, this was her 12th double-double of the season.
The Vulcans smashed the Rock from the start by going up 19-4 in the first quarter and never looked back from there as they built a 37-16 lead at halftime. California (17-5, 14-4) ended up outrebounding Slippery Rock (11-13, 7-11) 28-13 in the first half, with 11 of those Vulcan rebounds being offensive. From there, Cal cruised even more in the second half building a lead by as much as 29 in the third quarter.
The amazing aspect to the blowout was that the Vulcans only dressed eight players Wednesday after seeing a rash of injuries pile up. Slippery Rock had more girls on their bench (9) than there were Vulcans dressed. Coach Jess Strom managed her short bench well to help lead Cal to their sixth straight win. The one bright spot for Slippery Rock was a 14 point performance from Lexi Carpenter, who scored most of those points in the second half.
The Vulcans begin a tough three-game road trip Saturday as they travel to Greensburg to face Seton Hill, who shocked the Vulcans at the Convocation Center a month ago with a stunning 16 point comeback. Slippery Rock welcomes IUP Saturday night with the Rock looking for a huge upset to climb back into the playoff hunt.
IUP 79 Clarion 60: IUP used a career night from sophomore Megan Smith to dominate the Golden Eagles on the road. Smith continued a two-game dominance of Clarion this season by tying a career-high with 21 points after scoring 15 a month ago at home against the Golden Eagles.
IUP (17-6, 14-5) shot just over 50% from the field and maintained that advantage throughout by dominating the Golden Eagles (8-17, 8-11) defense from the opening tip off. By halftime the Crimson Hawk lead was 18, and coach Tom McConnell was able to empty his bench to close out the victory.
Freshman rising star Jordan Bekelja scored a team-high 19 points for the Golden Eagles in the loss. Both IUP and Clarion hit the road Saturday for away contests with IUP taking on Slippery Rock, and Clarion facing Edinboro.
Gannon 62 Seton Hill 44: The Lady Knights used a dominant fourth quarter to knock off Seton Hill 62-44 on the road and avenged last month’s loss to the Lady Griffins at home. In Erie, Seton Hill devastated the Lady Knights by out-scoring them 22-5 in the fourth quarter to score the upset win. Yesterday, the tables turned with it being the Lady Knights scorching the Lady Griffins in the fourth quarter. Gannon (16-7, 14-5) outscored Seton Hill 19-4 (13-11, 9-9) to exact revenge, and clinch at least one playoff home game.
Jennie Thies compiled her sixth straight double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds for Gannon. Mariah Wells led all Lady Griffins with 12 points and now focus to Saturday as they look to upset California for the second-time this season.
This Saturday, Gannon is idle then will get a crack at the Vulcans next Wednesday at home.
Edinboro 79 Pitt-Johnstown 75: The Fighting Scots overcame a rough start on the road to score a 79-75 win over UPJ, and clinched their seventh straight PSAC playoff berth. Edinboro (17-8, 12-7) was backed by four players scoring in double digits, which was led by a career-high 28 points from freshman Michelle Jahn.
The Lady Cats (7-17, 4-14) maintained the lead into the fourth quarter until eventually succumbing to the rapid offense of the Fighting Scots. The valiant effort from last-place UPJ was led by Jasimine Harper’s 16 points in her penultimate game at the UPJ Sports Center.
This Saturday, both schools will be playing in Erie County with UPJ traveling to Mercyhurst, and Edinboro hosting Clarion as they now look to wrap up a first round bye in the PSAC playoffs.
Photo Credit: California University of Pennsylvania