The big showdown in PSAC women’s basketball this weekend takes place in the East, as West Chester and Millersville renew one of the league’s most intense rivalries at Pucillo Gymnasium in Millersville tomorrow.
The Golden Rams got a big scare from Kutztown on Wednesday night, but prevailed 78-73. Millersville (8-4, 5-3 PSAC East), meanwhile, has been idle since Carly Gallagher’s three beat previously undefeated Indiana (Pa.) 58-55 last Saturday. The Marauders were supposed to face Cheyney last Wednesday. The game, however, was postponed to Monday due to a water main break at Cope Hall.
Pucillo has been a house of horrors for West Chester (10-3, 6-3) in recent years. The Golden Rams have lost six of their last eight games to the Marauders at Millersville’s gym dating back to the 2004-2005 season, including a gut wrenching 70-65 loss in the 2011 PSAC quarterfinals.
Yes, the Marauders still have four of their key returning starters back from last season’s team, including junior forward Aurielle Mosley, who is averaging a double-double on the season (14.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game). But, there seems to be a different vibe about this Millersville team compared to recent years.
The Marauders’ depth remains a big red flag, especially with West Chester’s platooning substitutions. That depth disparity was on display in Millersville’s 86-69 overtime loss to California (Pa.) last week, as only seven players rotated in for the Marauders, compared to a 10 player rotation for the Vulcans.
And, with Allison Hostetter having finally broken the 1,000 career point plateau, it seems as though she’s playing as if a burden has been lifted off her. Just ask Kutztown, upon whom Hostetter sank 21 points on last Wednesday.
Saturday’s showdown at Pucillo should cause some separation on top of the PSAC East standings. The winner will keep pace with Bloomsburg for first place in the East.
Elsewhere in the PSAC East:
Kutztown (4-11, 2-7) at East Stroudsburg (5-8, 2-7): Reports of Kutztown’s playoff streak’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Sure, the Golden Bears lost to West Chester, but Janet Maloof’s troops seem to be progressing with each passing week. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ momentum has tapered off following a loss to Mansfield. The road back to respectability for Kutztown continues with a fairly easy win at Koehler Field House.
Cheyney (0-12, 0-8) at Bloomsburg (12-3, 6-3): The Huskies haven’t missed a beat, especially after a 70-59 win over Shippensburg. The Wolves arrive at Nelson Field House after last Wednesday’s game with Millersville was postponed. This will not be a pretty sight for the Cheyney faithful.
Shippensburg (6-7, 3-6) at Mansfield (5-8, 2-7): The Red Raiders are coming off their second worst loss of the season at the hands of Bloomsburg. This could very well be a lot closer than many anticipated when the schedules came out. Still, Shippensburg needs to be careful not to look past the Mounties heading into their showdown with West Chester this coming Wednesday.
Looking out West:
Lock Haven (6-6, 5-4) at #5 Edinboro (13-0, 9-0): Fresh off a fairly convincing 72-62 win over Gannon, the Fighting Scots return home to McComb Field House for what has all the markings of a trap game. After all, Stan Swank’s team could be looking ahead to next Wednesday’s showdown at IUP. It’s hard to figure out which Bald Eagles team will show up. Will it be the team that came within one point of upsetting Millersville? Or will it be the team that got crushed by Bloomsburg earlier this season? Still, you get a feeling that the Haven will walk out of McComb with a win.
Slippery Rock (4-9, 1-8) at Mercyhurst (8-5, 6-3): Folks on the East Side of Erie had to be wondering where this Lakers team was the first four games of the season. Since a 67-57 loss at West Chester on Nov. 20, 2011, Mercyhurst has won eight of their last nine. The same can’t be said about The Rock, which has seemingly fallen off the face of the basketball earth after a lot of pre-season momentum.
#21 Gannon (11-2, 8-1) at Cal (8-5, 5-4): How the Vulcans fare will depend on the status of Stephanie Michael, the team’s leading three-point shooter, who missed Wednesday’s 62-43 loss at IUP with a hand injury. Cal could certainly use the junior sharpshooter against a Golden Knight team still smarting from their loss at home to Edinboro. Without Michael, it will be a long afternoon at the Convocation Center.
#21 IUP (12-1, 8-1) at Clarion (4-9, 3-6): While the Golden Eagles have been in their last two games (against Bloomsburg and Mercyhurst), they still lost. The Crimson Hawks are without an injured Ashley Stoner, but Sarah Pastorek is still a force for IUP, who should have an easy tune-up heading into Wednesday. Once has to wonder whether the hot seat is getting warmer for Clarion head coach Gie Parsons, whose teams seem to have talent that is not meshing well.
Creighton Rabs covers the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference for modenook.com. He is neither employed by nor affiliated with the PSAC or its member institutions. Follow him on Twitter (@PSACnWCUReportr) for live updates of selected events, including this weekend’s double-header between West Chester and Millersville.