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Shepherd women's basketball team still learning

November 26, 1996

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - According to head coach Betsy Blose, Monday afternoon's game with Shippensburg was supposed to be a big test for the Shepherd College women's basketball team. Instead, the Rams just learned another lesson.

Blose, in her second year at Shepherd, scheduled last year's NCAA Division II runner-up Red Raiders to see how far the Rams program had come. The 73-50 loss just proved how far Shepherd still has to go.

"If we had all our ducks in a row, I think we could have stayed with them a little better," a frustrated Blose said. "If we had everyone here - and this isn't an excuse - it would have been better. This is just an indication that we have a lot of work ahead of us."

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Blose came to Shepherd with plans of building a top-notch Division II program. The Rams (2-5) entered the 1996-97 season with a young team, which Blose saw as the foundation for Shepherd's future.

But growing pains, and a four-game losing streak, have slowed the process.

"We have to learn to sustain our game," Blose said. "I'm pleased with the team's effort, but we have to do the little things. We have to quit looking at wins and losses. We have to keep building for the future. I'm never going to quit."

Shepherd gave Shippensburg (9-1) all it could handle in the first half. The Rams kept Shippensburg in a half-court game, one coach Dave Smith said his team doesn't like to play. The slow pace allowed Shepherd to rebound with the bigger Red Raiders and kept them from scoring easy, fast-break baskets.

The Rams prevented any early Shippensburg runs and owned a 21-15 lead with 5:30 remaining in the half. But the Red Raiders closed with an11-2 flurry to take a 26-25 halftime lead. Shippensburg started the second half with a 20-3 run and ended any Shepherd hopes for an upset.

"We totally broke down in the second half," Blose said. "We've been doing that all year. The first 20 minutes we can play with and beat anybody, but we have to be able to sustain it. Shippensburg picked it up a notch in the second half."

The Rams didn't pass the test, but they didn't fail either, Blose said. The loss just proved that any steps Shepherd has taken are very small.

"We have to begin with little baby steps before we can get anywhere. We can't expect to do it all at once," Blose said. "From execution to team chemistry, we work on those every day. Ultimately, I want to win a championship, but we have a long way to go before we get there.

"It's going to happen though. You can quote me on that."

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