Lady Eagles take out Shippensburg University, 76-65
By BILL ALBRIGHT
For The Express
LOCK HAVEN — After dropping an 81-50 loss to Shippensburg in the first meeting one month ago, the Lock Haven University women’s basketball team had a message to deliver to the Lady Raiders.
Playing arguably their best game of the year, the Lady Eagles played a total-team game as they took care of business by sending the Red Raiders packing on the short end of a 76-65 final Saturday afternoon at Thomas Field House.
“All the way around, it was really a good team win for us,” said LHU head coach Jennifer Smith. “We tend to play better at home than on the road so when someone comes into our house, we know we have to take care of business.”
After opening the game with a pair of lead changes and four ties, the Lady Raiders scored the final four points of the period for a 16-13 lead at the first turn.
That is when the Lady Eagles put their transition game in motion as they opened the second period on a 7-2 run for a 20-18 lead.
Playing with good intensity on both ends of the floor, LHU combined defense with its rapid transition game to take a 32-27 lead to the locker room at the break.
The good defense was evident in holding Ship to 34 percent from the field while out-rebounding the Lady Raiders by 22-17 margin.
LHU came out strong after the break to open up a 10-point lead, but Ship responded to the challenge as they tied the game at 45-all before the Lady Eagles took a 49-45 lead at the turn for home.
“We talked at halftime that we needed to separate ourselves from them. That is one area that we have struggled with in the past,” said Smith. “We talked about getting off to a good start and they really took that to heart and did a really good job with it.”
Not to let the Lady Raiders back in the game, LHU opened up a 68-55 lead with three minutes left and they never looked back.
Maybe the key to the win was the total team effort by the Lady Eagles. Offensively they had four players in double figures, Rileigh Devine leading the way with 16 points.
“I think that is a product of the new style of play we are working with,” said Smith. “When you go fast and are getting up a ton of shots the ball should be distributed around. Hopefully going forward we can see more of that.”
Joining Devine with multiple digits in the scorebook were freshman Bink Redman and Kayla Henderson with 14 points while Mackenzie Livingston completed the quartet with 13 points.
Although the smallest (physically) player on the floor, Redman turned in her second double-double in a row, adding 11 boards to her 14 points.
“I think she is getting more and more comfortable playing at the college level,” said Smith. “She is getting more and more confident in her game and she plays just so hard. If you asked her to, she would try to run through a brick wall. It is just great to see her succeeding.”
Redman feels her improved level of play is just due to her playing with a lot of enthusiasm and having a big heart as well.
“My high school coach always told me that it isn’t the size of the player, but the size of the player’s heart,” said Redman. “I believe in myself that I can go up and get the rebounds as well as handle the ball.”
As for the improvement, it comes down to the Lady Eagles coming together as a team.
“At the beginning of the year, we just weren’t ready to play as a team,” said Redman. “As time went by, that all changed and now we know what we need to do, who needs to shoot shots and right now, we are just playing as a team. I love playing with these girls.”
Now 5-17 overall and 4-14 in the conference, the Lady Eagles will take to the roadways for games with West Chester, Millersville and Cheyney before returning to Thomas Field House to close out the 2017-18 season with Kutztown.