CHARLESTON— Shepherd ruined Fairmont’s WVIAC quarterfinal chances when it ballooned a 10-point lead at the 8:39 mark into a robust 83-58 win over the Fighting Falcons in the conference women’s basketball tournament held at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum last week.
In a game that was expected to be close between the fourth-seeded Lady Rams and fifth-seeded Fairmont, it was Shepherd that held a 41-30 lead at the halftime and then outscored the Fighting Falcons, 26-11, over the game’s last 8:39.
The Lady Rams impaled Fairmont (18-10 overall) on the strength of a 15-for-22 (68 percent) showing from the field in the second half and 14-of-15 from the foul line for the afternoon.
One of the hallmarks of the Shepherd win was its commanding 47-27 rebounding advantage.
The tournament’s other quarterfinal winners were No.1-seed West Virginia Wesleyan when it downed West Liberty, 82-59; No.2-seeded Concord with its 70-48 win over Charleston; and No.3-seeded Glenville as it destroyed Davis & Elkins, 79-46.
Shepherd’s victory was its 20th of the season against 10 losses and sent it against West Virginia Wesleyan in the semifinal round.
Katie Biggs, a 33-percent shooter from the field during the regular season, went 6-for-9 from the field (5-for-7 from long range) and 8-for-8 from the foul line to lead all Shepherd scorers with her 25 points. Emily Daniel was 5-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the foul line for 15 points. Daniel had seven rebounds.
Gabby Flinchum had eight rebounds and blocked three shots in addition to scoring 10 points in just 23 minutes. Reserves Priscilla Moseh (seven points), Shelby Fayak (six points), and Jimyse Brown (six points, five rebounds) had productive games off the bench.
The Lady Rams were spared the problems their 22 turnovers would usually cause. Fairmont’s WVIAC Player of the Year Kaitlin Snyder was limited to 19 points on 7-for-23 shooting from floor (4-for-12 from three-point range).
The tournament win was Shepherd’s 10th in its last 11 games and sent it to the semifinals for the first time since 2007.
In the semifinals, West Virginia Wesleyan stopped the Lady Rams, 74-47. First-team all-conference players Lydia Bridenbaugh and Jamie Kaufman paced the Lady Bobcats in scoring.
Shepherd made only 30 percent of its field goal attempts, including a 4-for-19 (21 percent) showing from three-point range. A poor showing from the free throw line (7-of-17 for 41 percent) also hurt Shepherd’s chances. And there were 18 turnovers that cost the Lady Rams. No Shepherd player could score more than nine points.
West Virginia Wesleyan took 15-point leads just after the 10-minute mark of the first half.
The Lady Rams finished the season at 20-11 overall.