SHEPHERDSTOWN — Although it wasn’t the artistic success often seen with Kim Mulkey’s Baylor team or the Connecticut Huskies, Shepherd’s 74-58 womens win over visiting West Virginia Wesleyan kept the Lady Rams in the first division of the WVIAC and gave them a first-round home game in the league tournament.
Shepherd was the team that found the better stride in the second half after both sides were turnover torn before the halftime break. The Lady Bobcats had 14 first-half turnovers and Shepherd reciprocated with 12 of its own. And neither side was employing any fullcourt pressure.
Near the close of the half, Shepherd wasted seven of nine possessions with turnovers.
Carrying a seven-point lead into halftime, the Lady Rams were still fraught with error at the 15:22 mark of the last half when their lead was only 38-37.
It was then that reserve center Gabby Flinchum scored six of her 12 points and the Lady Rams outscored the still-faltering Lady Bobcats, 12-1 over a salty five-minute period to take a 50-38 lead.
The Shepherd lead was never jeopardized again.
Its three seniors could all be removed in the latter stages for a last tribute on Senior Night from the 600 or so fans in attendance.
The Shepherd turnovers numbered only six in its 41-point second half. West Virginia Wesleyan had nine more turnovers. And those mistakes only compounded its 24-for-59 (40.7 percent) shooting from the floor and paltry 5-for-9 showing from the free throw line.
Though it missed all four of its three-point attempts in all, Shepherd was able to go 29-for-60 from the field (48.3 percent) in the half.
Shepherd seniors Emily Daniel, Priscilla Moseh, and Alex Tamaz all played at least 32 minutes and all had some hand in the conference win that evened the overall record at 13-13 and improved the league mark to 12-10, giving the Lady Rams a first-round home game in the last WVIAC tournament in history.
Daniel had 18 points, Tamaz 15 (along with six assists and six turnovers), and Moseh nine points. Flinchum’s nine rebounds kept Shepherd from being outrebounded any worse than the 40-31 deficit it showed.
Turnovers were the complete story of the first half.
Shepherd’s Flinchum-led scoring sprint in a five-minute section of the last half decided the game’s winner.
The aesthetics of the game were lacking, but Shepherd had evened its record and could stay in the friendly Butcher Center for its first WVIAC tournament game.