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Rams make early statement in WVIAC

December 04, 1998|By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Rams make early statement in WVIAC

Shepherd women rock Wheeling Jesuit in league opener

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The Shepherd College women's basketball team knew that it would be important to make a strong statement against West Virginia Conference foe Wheeling Jesuit.

The Cardinals were fresh off an upset win over conference power West Liberty, and had no less than three six-footers in the lineup.

The Rams, however, turned a statement into a long conversation.

Behind junior guard Jennifer Chapman's game high 14 points and Stephanie Schwandt's 11 rebounds, Shepherd dominated every phase of the game Thursday night, downing the Cardinals in surprisingly easy fashion, 64-39.

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For the Rams, it was a coming-out party, of sorts, for seniors Sandi Goulet and Leslie Wolfe, who have both been at Shepherd since coach Betsy Blose arrived there four years ago. Goulet and Wolfe, both guards in Shepherd's aggressive/attack style of play, pointed to this game as the high water mark of Blose's tenure.

"A huge key to our win tonight was the fact that Sandi Goulet has taken charge of her team," Blose said of the playmaking guard, who had three assists and broke the Cardinal press numerous times with her deft passing. "It doesn't always show up on the stat sheet, but she gets the ball to the right people."

"We are at another level," Wolfe said after the Rams steadily built an 11-point halftime lead and quickly pushed it to 18 only five minutes after the break. "We have taken some small steps before, but this was a big step."

The step was actually a leap as far as Shepherd (2-3, 1-0 WVIAC) making some noise in conference play. The Rams will square off against two more conference foes in the next four days, and Blose sees these early matchups as an important test.

"We did not expect this to come easy tonight," Blose said. "Our depth is a definite plus for us this year. We can count on our bench to help us."

Blose substituted freely in an attempt to continue finding the right playing combinations. She saw several matchups on the floor Thursday that gave her the confidence that things just may be beginning to gel.

"Jennifer Chapman had a great game offensively tonight," Blose said. "But we also used (Jennifer) Westervelt and (Megan) Poehlman off the bench and they made some smooth transitions."

Westervelt had 12 points while Poehlman, the Rams 6-4 freshman center, chipped in eight points and eight rebounds. The Rams out rebounded Wheeling Jesuit by a whopping, 60-35.

"It was a great win for us," Blose said. "And a most important one."

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