By Ronald Hanaki
On February 25, ESU’s women’s basketball team lost to the Kutztown Bears 56-41 on a cold, wintry evening at Koehler Fieldhouse. The loss makes the Warriors the number six seed in the PSAC tournament. The Warriors will play third-seeded Shippensburg on the road in a first round playoff game on February 28. The winner of that game will play second-seeded West Chester in a quarterfinal game on March 3.
This was ESU’s last game of the regular season. Prior to the start of the game, seniors Ryann Fiascki, Jessica Martin, Kelsey Murray, and Andrea Veres were honored in front of the Koehler Krazies.
Although ESU led briefly in the first half, sophomore forward Allison Howard’s near double-double of 9 points and 8 rebounds was not enough to overcome Kutztown’s scoring tandem of junior guard Natalya Lee and senior guard Elisa Gaffney. Lee led the Bears in scoring with 16 points, and Gaffney posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Kutztown led the game for most of the first half. A Gaffney free throw put the Bears up 18-9, but the Warriors would strike back.
Down 19-25, the Warriors would hit three straight 3-pointers to briefly take the lead, 28-26.
However, with 9 seconds left, Kutztown sophomore forward Kelsey Watson rebounded a missed jump shot by Allison Howard that led to Natalya Lee’s 3-point heave from just inside half court with 1 second left in the first half.
Kutztown took the momentum and a 29-28 halftime lead into the locker room.
The Bears opened the second half with a 19-4 run to make the score 48-32 with 9:09 left in the game.
Kutztown would extend its lead to 17 points with 1:29 left in the game.
The final score was Kutztown 56, ESU 41.
The Maroon & Gold’s stifling defense limited ESU to shooting 15-52 from the field for an abysmal 0.288 field goal shooting percentage.
ESU senior forward Jessica Martin had 5 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots in the loss.
Head coach Lynn Ramage is now 6-6 since being named the interim head coach on January 12.
Nevertheless, ESU (11-15, 10-12) has made the PSAC tournament for the third year in a row.
The Warriors will play the Shippensburg Raiders on the road in the PSAC tournament’s first round game on Saturday afternoon, February 28.
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