Coming off of a disappointing loss Friday to Case Western Reserve University, the women’s basketball team bounced back against Emory University Sunday, clinching its first conference road victory with a score of 65-52.

“The [Emory] victory was very important to us,” head coach Jim Scheible said. “We played very well down the stretch of the game to pull it out.”

The Eagles played solid for the first half of the match-up, but UR slowly pulled away. In fact, the women’s field goal percentage increased by 25 percent during their comeback in the second half. Down by seven, UR went on a 27-14 run in the second half. The Yellowjackets tied the game at 47 with just under six minutes to play and led by six points with two minutes left.

Career night

Sophomore guard Erika Smith had a big night on offense, shooting 10-for-14 from the field. Smith also sank 3 of 5 three-point attempts while scoring a career-high 28 points.

“Erika was outstanding,” Scheible said. “She carried us [and] really played like a big-time player the whole weekend.”

Freshman forwards Megan Fish and Kelly Wescott also added to the scoreboard with 13 and eight points, respectively. Off the boards, Fish, Wescott and Smith totaled just over half of the team’s total rebounds with 17.

“Megan is playing solid for us and Kelly is getting better and better,” Scheible said. “Other teams struggle to match up with her because of her athleticism and height and very good scoring ability.”

Aside from the great individual plays, he also remarked on the importance of team effort in the win. “I am pleased with many players and the overall development of the [group],” he said.

The Emory victory was a sign that the Yellowjackets had recovered from the cold spell they went through late in the second half of Friday night’s 66-61 loss at Case Western Reserve University.

UR was ahead by four when sophomore guard and co-captain Tara Carrozza successfully nailed a jumper with about 10 minutes left of play. However, the Spartans responded with a 13-2 spurt and opened a seven-point lead with less than three minutes to play.

The Yellowjackets did manage to pull within three points twice during Case’s run. Wescott began by sinking a jumper and junior forward Sarah Sullivan followed with two points. But the women were forced to foul and Case Western was 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the last 34 seconds of play.

The loss ended any hopes UR had of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“The loss was a little disappointing because we had the opportunity to beat them and we didn’t finish the job,” Scheible said. “We played well for 32 minutes and didn’t finish it.”

The statistics proved that the women did not fare well in the second half. The Yellowjackets fell from a 44 field goal percentage in the first half to just over 29 in the second. Wescott led UR with 17 points. Smith added 12, while Fish put in 10 points.

Despite playing with “intensity,” the women “could have played with more poise down the stretch of the game,” Scheible said.

Growing pains

Currently, UR is 16-8 overall, 7-6 in the UAA. The team hopes to finish the season with a two-game UAA road winning streak as they head to Pittsburgh this weekend.

“We are learning to give a tremendous effort every game, and not just the home games,” Scheible said. “The difference between road and home games is that when you are on the road, you are out of your comfort zone and need to be mentally tougher. We are learning that and we are getting better.”

But the learning process will not be easy. The Yellowjackets end the regular season against Carnegie Mellon University, which is ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Region.

“[Playing in the UAA] is a learning experience because the teams are all strong,” Scheible added. “Carnegie Mellon will be tough for us but it is a winnable game if we play very intense and poised.”

“I look at it as another learning opportunity that we need to take advantage of,” he said.

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