Author: Jack Ridenour
As the season winds down, the Cougars are fighting for a spot in the PAC post season tournament. The Cougars currently stand at 11-11 overall and 6-10 in conference play. They are currently 7th in the PAC with two games to go. If the team makes it to the playoffs, they will have to travel to face 2nd ranked Washington and Jefferson.
The girls have had a stretch of tough losses in the conference. The team had to go to Thomas Moore to take on the number one team in the conference. The ladies struggled to score as they found themselves down 45-26. They weren’t able to mount a comeback and ultimately fell to the saints 94-45. Sophomore guard Ashley McClain led the team in scoring with 18 points.
The team then had to take on the 6th ranked team in their conference, Grove City. It was a back and forth battle all throughout the first half, with Grove City holding onto a narrow lead at halftime 33-30. The Cougars fell behind quickly in the second half, scoring only 12 points in the third quarter. Eventually they would lose to Grove City 75-57, despite having four of their five starters in double figures. McClain led the team in scoring at 16 points, while sophomore guard Katie Sieg followed up with 15 points. Senior forward Jesse Hinkle and sophomore guard Natalie Knab each chipped in 10 points.
The Cougars then went to Washington, PA to take on Washington and Jefferson. The cougars fought neck and neck with the presidents in the first half, losing by six after the first two quarters. The game would be a nail bitter till the end, where the Cougars would again fall to Washington and Jefferson 63-59. Sieg would lead the team in scoring with 22 points and McClain was second with 11.
Up next for the cougars was a home battle against Waynesburg. The yellow jackets would jump out to a quick lead, beating the cougars 35-29 at halftime. Chatham would not be able to pull together a victory, as the team would lose 76-62. Sieg again led the team in scoring, with 16 points, and McClain would be close behind her with 14 points.
The cougars had to key victories against Westminster and Geneva. These victories were able to put them in a position to make it to the playoffs after the season. Against Westminster, the team would find themselves down after the first half, trailing 30-23 shooting only 19% from the field as a team. The Cougars would heat up in the second half, shooting nearly 37% from the field. Led by Sieg with 19 points and McClain with 13 points, the team would fight back and defeat Westminster 67-61.
The Cougars came out of the gates hot on senior night against Geneva. The team wanted a win for their three seniors, Jesse Hinkle, Dana Eastman and Nikki Ingel. They would shoot 50% from the field and 33% from three in the first half. Geneva had no answer for the Cougars high paced offense, and the team would ultimately defeat the golden tornadoes 82-52. Hinkle contributed 15 points to the victory, and Katie Sieg would add 14 points and 8 assists.
“We focused on inside and outside game offensively as well as cleaning up the boards on D,” said freshman forward and business management major Sierra Ungerman of how they were able to snap their four game losing streak. “Also we love our seniors and wanted to get the W for them,” she added.
The win against Geneva was a must for the cougars, as they get closer and closer to playoffs. “After losing Wednesday, we tried to have a lot of positivity and always be positive when we are playing and pick each other up when someone makes a mistake,” said sophomore forward Maggie Soeder about how they adjusted from losing against to Waynesburg, to defeating Geneva.
Although the win was big for the cougars, the team also had a major loss. Ashley McClain would leave the game with a knee injury, and would not re-enter the game.
“Well with Ashley being out it’s going to be a huge adjustment offensively and defensively, so we will have to focus on scoring and running our plays with a different person bringing up the ball,” said Natalie Knab.
As the team’s regular season comes to a close, they cougars have to finish this season strong in order to solidify their spot in the playoffs. The Cougars finish the season with two games against Bethany College and Thiel College. These two games will be big for the team’s playoff hopes.