Rams women stay away from panic button

February 17, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - In the simplist of terms, the Shepherd College women's basketball team took care of its gag reflex problem.

It's the overwhelming urge the Rams have had to move into a shell when they were starting to get shelled. It all started to change Saturday.

"They would make a 5-0 run and we would hit the panic button," Shepherd guard Cassie Murray said. "We are trying to eliminate that now and that will give us the chance to win from here on out."


Shepherd picked a great time to disconnect the red button of self-destruction by taking the early lead against Davis & Elkins and then finding the answer for every challenge the Senators threw at it to come away with a 59-46 West Virginia Conference victory at the Butcher Center.

The biggest case in point came in the final six minutes, when D&E used pressure defense to mount a 6-0 run to close within 48-44, forcing Shepherd coach Jodie Runner to call time with 4:25 remaining.

The Rams (10-13, 7-7) responded by coming out of the break to score on a Brianne Hamilton drive and a 3-pointer out of the corner by Murray. Shepherd completed a 7-1 run to put the game out of reach as Hamilton missed the front of a one-and-one foul situation, only to have Murray grab the rebound and put it back for the last of her game-high 14 points and a 55-45 advantage with 1:23 remaining.

"During the time out we talked about taking care of the ball," Runner said. "We were in the same scenerio last year when we were up by five or seven with 1:50 left and lost on a last-second shot. I think the (panic reflex) was instilled in them from before. Now we want to start to go out and work and not panic when things go wrong and fight for 40 minutes."

The only panic of the first half came as neither team seemed to be able to find the basket. Shepherd led 25-19 at intermission, despite hitting 33 percent of its shots, including 1-for-13 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, D&E only managed to shoot 22 percent in the first 20 minutes.

"To tell you the truth, I was surprised we were missing the 3s because we shoot them so well in practice," Runner said. "We shot them well in the second half. We talked about working the ball arond more in the second half and getting the shots."

Ashana Cowans and Murray both hit 3s in the first half of the second half to fillabuster the Senators. D&E (5-16, 4-10) was able to mount only two serious runs in the half, but the Rams failed to fold.

"It's all mental," Murray said. "We know what we have to work on and to stick with it. It's nice to get to .500 and it's nice that we were able to stick to our guns (with the game plan). We are finallly coming together as a team and getting into a flow."

Cowans finished with 12 points for Shepherd while Danielle Murray pulled down 10 rebounds. Daya Perkins and Morgan Johnson scored 11 points each to lead D&E.

"After Thursday, we talked and had to do some gut checks," Runner said. "At (University of District of Columbia), we let them set the tone of the game. We have to be aggressive. We have to push the ball and force the other team to get back on defense. This was the perfect team for us to play against because they have to do the same thing."

Shepherd 59 Davis & Elkins 46


Perkins 3-7 4-4 11, Cyphert 1-8 1-1 3, Parsons 3-10 2-5 8, Johnson 4-11 3-5 11, abreu 2-5 0-0 5, Bright 0-6 0-0 0, Abbondanza 0-2 0-0 0, Deitsch 1-4 0-0 2, Kincaid 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 17-63 10-15 49.


C. Murray 6-16 0-2 14, Stewart 1-5 2-2 4, Hamilton 2-4 5-9 9, Cowans 4-9 2-2 12, D. Murray 3-4 0-0 6, van Norden 2-3 0-0 6, Malachi 1-3 0-0 2, Kunkel 0-4 0-0 0, Makal 2-7 0-0 4, Fisher 0-1 0-0 0, Landrum 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-57 9-15 59.

Halftime - Shepherd 25, Davis & Elkins 19. Three-point goals - Davis & Elkins 2-16 (Perkins 1-3, Adams 1-4, Bright 0-4, Deitsch 0-2, Cyphert 0-2, Abreu 0-1), Shepherd 6-21 (van Norden 2-2, Wowans 2-3, C. Murray 2-9, Stewart 0-4, Kunkel 0-3).

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