When Slippery Rock’s women’s basketball team upset Gannon on the road a month ago, many saw it as a fluke.
That notion was wiped out Saturday evening when Slippery Rock completed its first-ever season sweep of Gannon with a 62-53 win at home on Senior Night. The biggest keys to the Rock’s second upset of Gannon this time was hitting 10 three-pointers, and forcing 20 Lady Knight Turnovers.
The Rock (13-14, 9-12) came out energized after the senior ceremony and staked to a 23-11 lead after the first quarter. Gannon struck back with a 12-0 run to tie the game in the second quarter and seemed to begin to take control of the game. But anytime Gannon had that mindset Saturday, The Rock punched back and never let the Lady Knights (16-9, 14-7) lead at all during the game. Slippery Rock used a 14-2 run to close out the half and led by the same amount after the first quarter.
The second Gannon attack came in the fourth quarter, when they cut an 18-point Rock lead down to three with 6:44 left. However, that was as close as they got the rest of the game. The Rock closed out the Lady Knights backed by seven clutch points from Lexi Carpenter, who scored a game-high 23 points along with Gannon’s Morgan Neighbors.
Slippery Rock’s defense held Gannon to just 31.7 percent from the field, bailing out the offense which went a little more than nine minutes without a field goal at one point in the second half. Now The Rock needs to beat UPJ on the road Wednesday, and get IUP to beat Seton Hill to make the playoffs for the second-straight season. Gannon failed to lock up third place in the division, and will look to do so Wednesday with a win against cross-town rival Mercyhurst or an Edinboro loss to California.
California 65 Mercyhurst 51: The Vulcans scorched the Lakers in the fourth quarter to earn their ninth-straight win on Saturday. Trailing after three quarters, Cal outscored Mercyhurst 23-5 in the final quarter, while not allowing the Lakers to make a single shot from the field. Cal controlled the game early by jumping out to nine-point lead midway through the second quarter. The Lakers began their upset bid with an 11-0 run to close out the half to lead at the break.
The resilient Vulcans (20-5, 17-4) shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, while being led by a game-high 19 points from Miki Glenn. Mercyhurst (13-14, 11-10) was led by 17 points from Natalie Piaggessi, who will close out the season Wednesday across town at Gannon with fifth place in the PSAC West locked up. The Vulcans needed a Gannon win against Slippery Rock to lock up the one seed in the PSAC West, but now either must beat Edinboro at home Wednesday or, have Gannon beat Mercyhurst and finish in third place to win the PSAC West.
Edinboro 80 Seton Hill 67: A quick start helped Edinboro score a dominating 80-67 win over Seton Hill on its Senior Day. Edinboro maintained a double-digit lead for most of the game, except for a stretch in the 4th quarter. But the Fighting Scots (19-8, 14-7) would not be denied in their home regular season finale as they closed out the Lady Griffins (13-14, 9-12) with a 9-2 run. Aignee Freeland fittingly led the way on her Senior Day, tying a game-high 22 points with the Lady Griffins Jenna Kaufman, and added seven rebounds. Slippery Rock’s upset at Gannon now gives Edinboro a chance to potentially steal third place from Gannon with a win against California on Wednesday, plus a Lady Knight loss to Mercyhurst. The Lady Griffins, now tied with Slippery Rock for the for the final playoff spot, either need to beat IUP at home, or have Pitt-Johnstown upset Slippery Rock on Wednesday to make the playoffs for the third straight season.
Clarion 63 Pitt-Johnstown 51: In her final game at Tippin Gymnasium, Tania Holmes scored a team-high 20 points to lead her Golden Eagles to a 63-51 win over UPJ. The Lady Cats dominated for one and a half quarters, and then the tide changed when Clarion used a 13-2 run to close out the half. Clarion took the lead for good early in the 3rd quarter, and would go on to cruise the rest of the way. Clarion will finish the season at (9-19, 9-13) after winning just one PSAC game a season ago. The Lady Cats (7-20, 4-17) were led by a game-high 21 points from Olivia McCabe, and now will try to end their 10-game losing streak in their regular season finale at home Wednesday against Slippery Rock.