PREVIEW: Women’s Basketball Begins PSAC Competition at Cal, Slippery Rock

11/17/2017 | Women’s Basketball
Cal: Live Stats | Live Video | Game Notes
Slippery Rock: Live Stats | Live Video | Game Notes

KUTZTOWN | The Kutztown University women’s basketball team opens up its 2017-18 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) slate on the road this weekend, taking on the California (PA) University Vulcans and Slippery Rock University on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Riding a two-game winning streak, the Golden Bears will travel to Cal on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip against a traditionally-strong Vulcan squad. Ranked No. 10 in the Preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Poll, Cal is off to a 2-0 start under head coach Jess Strom. At last weekend’s MEC/PSAC conference challenge, the Vulcans took down West Liberty and Notre Dame (OH) in two close battles to open up its season.

California (PA) has been led by dynamic post-player Shatara Parsons, whom has totaled 60 points in her first two games this season. Parson’s 30.0 points per game average ranks first in the PSAC, shooting at an efficient .522 clip from the field. Mia Cushon is a great compliment to Parsons inside, averaging 16.5 ppg and 13.5 rpg, making up a ‘twin-tower’ type offense for the Vulcans.

One area for the Golden Bears to possibly exploit in this matchup is their potential advantage from

beyond the three-point line. Cal has only attempted twelve triples in its first two contests, with DJ Hahn the lone Vulcan to make a shot from beyond the arc (3-for-10). On the flip side, KU has attempted 69 threes in its three games, shooting 29.0 percent from deep. In its most recent game against Chestnut Hill, the Golden Bears knocked down 11-of-30 three-point attempts, shooting 36.7 percent for the game. Individually, freshmen Rylee Derr and Alexis Smith combined to shoot 10-of-18 from three-point land as this first-year duo continues its outstanding start to its first season in Maroon and Gold. The last meeting between these two sides, which occurred on Nov. 19, 2016, ended in a decisive 74-52 win for Cal.

Sunday’s tilt will feature Kutztown taking on Slippery Rock in its lone back-to-back on the road this season. The Rock, under head coach Bobby McGraw, is still looking for its first victory of the 2017-18 campaign, falling to Virginia State University and Lincoln University to open the season. Ciara Patterson enters this matchup as SRU’s leading scorer, totaling 14.5 ppg and averaging 33.0 minutes per contest. Of Patterson’s ten made-field goals, six are from beyond-the-arc as she is shooting 28.6 percent from distance. Around Patterson, the Rock features a balanced offense with four players averaging 9.5 ppg or more.

Rebounding will be a key stat to focus on from both team’s perspectives, as SRU is currently -7.0 in rebounding margin through two games. Comparatively, the Golden Bears are -1.4 in this category, having outrebounded a Chestnut Hill team, 48-46, in its last time despite the Griffins strong play in the paint. Early on, we have seen a total team effort on the boards for KU, with Keifonna Ferguson, Gabbi Wright, Derr and Smith each averaging 4-plus rebounds per game. Kutztown was clipped in its last meeting with Slippery Rock, falling on Nov. 20, 2016, 72-65.

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