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Rams get easy victory at home

November 24, 1999|By AL DITZEL

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College's women's basketball team will win plenty of games this season, especially if they stick to the formula they used for much of Tuesday's night's home opener.

Using great depth and defensive intensity, the Rams posted a 79-49 victory over Ohio Valley tipping off its home season.

cont. from sports page

"I feel this year's team could be better than last year's,'' Shepherd coach Betsy Blose said.

The Rams return 12 players from a team that set or tied 10 school records and won the WVIAC title.

"The players buy into our system,'' Blose said. "They work really hard out there and our intensity on defense helps our offense.''

The defense separated Shepherd and Ohio Valley (1-2) very quickly Tuesday night. The Fighting Scots never led in the game closing to the lead to three points at 16-13 with 13:57 left in the half.

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Then, the depth put the game away.

"Our players know that they only have five or six minutes out there, so they play very hard,'' Blose said.

One of Shepherd's captains, senior Emily Friend, comes off the bench.

"That's fine,'' she said. "It's not about who starts. It's about who's producing. If you produce, you play more.''

Blose was hard-pressed Tuesday night to find anyone who wasn't producing. After Ohio Valley closed the gap to three with 13-plus minutes left in the first half, the Rams went on a tear.

Sharon Feeney made a couple of baskets and Friend scored seven of her 11 points in the final 13 minutes of the first half as Shepherd built a 44-27 lead at halftime.

"Emily had a great night off the bench,'' Blose said. Friend also had eight rebounds in her 16 minutes of play.

"I feel really good about my game,'' Friend said. "I think I'm starting to peak and it's only the third game of the year.''

Shepherd put the game away in the second half, building its lead to as much as 30 points (71-41) with 8:58 left in the game.

Despite scoring only eight points the rest of the game - 10 in the final 11:41 - Shepherd posted the lopsided victory.

"We had a period there where we letdown a little, but that's to be expected,'' Blose said. "I think it was very important for us to come out the second half with some intensity and we did.''

"In the tournament (Lock Haven), a team trailed by 24 points and came back to win,'' Friend said. "I think we saw that and we were able to stay intense.''

The 30-point victory wasn't as impressive as last year's 97-20 home opener over Columbia Union, but then again, this year's Shepherd team is 3-0. Last year's team lost two games in its opening tournament.

Feeney finished with a game-high 14 points. Jennifer Westervelt added 13 points and nine rebounds.

If there was any negative at all, it was Shepherd's free-throw shooting. The Rams made 11 of 23.

"We haven't been in a close game yet where that could hurt us,'' Blose said. "But, it will make a difference in a game somewhere down the line.''

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