Knights place focus on annual Pink Zone game

While the Gannon University women’s basketball team may be focused on the current slate of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the Knights will have a chance to “think pink” on Saturday.

Terry Carson
(Terry Carson) Sophomore guard Jessie Tamerlano plays sticky defense against Mercyhurst guard Dana Banda. Tamerlano recorded five points and four rebounds in 26 minutes in Wednesday's 75-63 loss to the Lakers.

The women’s game will kick off the fourth annual Pink Zone game, when Gannon hosts Indiana (Pa.) University at 1 p.m. Proceeds from shirt sales will benefit the Erie unit of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fund.

Although the Knights will be clad in pink for the occasion, Gannon needed to split a pair of games last week to avoid being in the red.

The Knights hosted rival Mercyhurst College, but even at home, Gannon got the worst from the ‘Hurst.

Senior guard Julie Kleber started off the scoring with a jumper, but the Lakers quickly responded with a 15-0 run to set the tone for the game.

The Knights couldn’t hit from distance and consequently had trouble keeping up with Mercyhurst’s sizzling offense, leading to a 34-23 deficit at halftime.

Gannon’s offense picked up the tempo in the second half, finally coming within 10 points of Mercyhurst after junior guard Caitlyn Lowe hit one of her three triples of the second half to make the score 49-40.

The Knights wouldn’t come within nine points the rest of the game, eventually falling 75-63. The loss dropped the Knights to 8-8 overall and 1-4 in conference play on the season.

The loss was Gannon’s sixth in eight games, putting the Knights in danger of falling below .500 against Clarion University Saturday.

Instead, Gannon went to business early, taking a quick 10-2 lead against the Golden Eagles.

The Knights nailed 7-of-10 3-pointers and picked up six offensive boards in the first half to take a 43-36 edge after the first half.

Clarion made an early push in the second half, trimming the lead to three with 16 minutes left, but 3-pointers by Lowe and Kleber pushed the Gannon advantage to 11 shortly after.

After keeping pace with the Golden Eagles for the majority of the half, the Knights staved off a Clarion push with a pair of 3s from Lowe in the last four minutes to seal an 80-66 victory.

Kleber said that, with the win, Gannon is on the right track for the season.

“We’ve definitely been starting to gel,” Kleber said. “We need to take pride in our rebounding and treat every game the same.”

With the win, the Knights move to 9-8 on the season. Gannon will head to Slippery Rock Wednesday before the Pink Zone matchup against IUP Saturday, a game that Kleber said she’s looking forward to.

“It’s a great honor,” Kleber said. “It’s something we take pride in. It’s a great feeling to play for the men and women afflicted with this disease.”

No matter how the Pink Zone game ends Saturday, everybody should feel like a winner.

ALEX BIELER

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Sports Editor Zack McDermott contributed to this story