KUTZTOWN | Following a two-week hiatus from competition, the Kutztown University women’s basketball team will take its efforts to the road on Saturday afternoon, matching up with Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East-foe, the West Chester University Golden Rams. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.from Hollinger Fieldhouse.
The Golden Bears were pushed to the limit in their last competition, staving off a late push from the Georgian Court University Lions on Dec. 16, to claim an 88-84 overtime victory. The Lions hit two deep three-pointers in the final 12 seconds to send the game to an extra session in what was a tightly-contested affair throughout. Tied at 84-84 with 29 seconds remaining in OT, Taylor Thames raced down the length of the court and found Karen Lapkiewicz for a three-pointer from the elbow, staking Kutztown to a margin it would not relinquish.
Lapkiewicz scored a career-high 18 points, pacing a Maroon and Gold offense which featured six scorers in double-digits on the afternoon. Gabbi Wright and Alexis Smith totaled 14 points and Thames,
Keifonna Ferguson and Rylee Derr chipped in 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively. The win for Kutztown over GCU cemented an undefeated non-conference season at home, sporting wins against Chestnut Hill, PSU Lehigh Valley, Jefferson and Georgian Court.
With the completion of the non-conference slate, Kutztown now turns its focus to the conference season, of which its tilt with West Chester will be the first of 11 PSAC games from Dec. 30-Jan. 31. The Golden Rams enter this matchup sporting a 5-4 overall mark and an identical 2-3 record in PSAC competition. A high-powered offensive attack, WCU ranks second in the PSAC in offense, scoring 81.9 points per game, and first in field goal percentage, shooting at an efficient 46.5 percent clip from the field.
West Chester is led by a two-pronged duo on offense, headed by do-it-all, combo-guard Porscha Speller, a 5-7 senior from Lancaster. Speller ranks fourth in the PSAC, averaging a team-high 20.4 points per game, and also tops the Golden Rams with 22 steals (2.4 spg) and a 49.6 percent clip from the field. Speller is supported by Mia Hopkins, whose averages of 10.9 rebounds per game (Second in PSAC), 4.3 assists per game and .8 blocks per game lead the team. West Chester has lost three of its last four contests, most recently suffering an 82-67 defeat to the University of the Sciences on Dec. 19.
Both Kutztown and the Golden Rams play a similar style on both ends, employing a high-pressure defensive effort, excelling in forcing turnovers from their opponents. KU and WCU are two of three teams in the PSAC averaging ten or more steals per game and both rank in the top-six in turnover margin. Offensively, both use their opportunistic defensive play to get out in transition, putting an emphasis on sharing the basketball and finding easy buckets. The Golden Bears and Golden Rams rank in the top-five in both assists and points in transition in the PSAC. With two sides which are so much like one another, fans can expect an exciting contest with plenty of scoring that is likely to go down to the wire.
Live stats, live video and game notes are available via the links above, which can also be accessed via www.kubears.com.