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Shepherd up to challenge

January 22, 1999

Shepherd vs. FairmontBY BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The thud you heard at the Butcher Athletic Center Thursday night was another West Virginia Conference foe falling to the Shepherd College women's basketball team.

Gail Seimer sparked a second-half rally with 13 critical points and several key rebounds as Shepherd (12-5, 9-1 WVC) finally put down a pesky Fairmont State team, 81-69.

[cont. from sports page]

Although Rams coach Betsy Blose wanted a challenge for her team, Shepherd was surprised by the aggressive, never-say-die play of the Falcons. But in the end, the Rams won the game their way.

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Although they seemingly struggled with the Falcons in the first half, it was all just a mirage, as the Shepherd offense came alive in a 10-minute stretch, outscoring Fairmont, 29-17.

"They weren't about to give that game to us," Blose said of the Falcons, who led by four early in the second half. "Things will definitely get tougher here on in and we can't have that fear of losing."

The Falcons came into the game as a dangerous team - one with its collective back against the wall after losing three straight games to fall into the middle of the pack in the conference. And although it seemed that Shepherd played well enough in the first half to mount that one run that would bury the Falcons, the Rams could never truly pull away.

The Rams managed a 34-30 lead at the break, mostly on the inside-outside strength of Jennifer Chapman and Leslie Wolfe.

But the Falcons, despite having no true perimeter threat, began to hit their outside shots against Shepherd's matchup zone. Freshman

Jessica Parker ended the half with 11 points to keep Fairmont close.

But in the second half, the Rams took control. In a game that was more "move the chains" than "run the clock," Shepherd was forced to get physical with the Falcons as more than 46 fouls were whistled on both teams.

"We can play that type of game if we have to," Blose said. "They are a very aggressive team and they wanted to win this game."

That is where Seimer became the latest Ram to step up and take control. With Shepherd clinging to a 56-54 lead and just over 10 minutes remaining, the 6-foot center came to life using a personal 6-0 run to give her teammates some breathing room.

From there, the Rams grasped control, quickly pushing the lead to 10 with six minutes left.

"Someone always seems to step up for us when we need it," Blose said. "Tonight, it was Gail."

Seimer also owned the boards over that brief run, limiting the Falcons to one shot each time down the floor.

And as the game drew to a close, the Rams were deadly from the foul line, hitting eight of nine in the last two minutes of the game.

"We are starting to develop that attitude we need to be successful," Blose said. "I will be glad when we are able to practice next week and work on some things."

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