After a pair of losses against Mercyhurst College and California (Pa.) University, the Gannon University women’s basketball team will get something it hasn’t seen in 13 seasons – some time off.
For the first time in coach Cleve Wright’s tenure at Gannon, the Knights will not make the their conference tournament after dropping to 3-9 in the PSAC and 11-13 overall.
With a small shot at a playoff spot up for grabs, the Knights didn’t have a shooting chance.
Gannon shot a measly 32.8 percent against Mercyhurst as the Knights quickly fell behind a Lackers squad that hit 14-of-22 shots in the first half.
Despite the sizzling Laker offense, Gannon trimmed what was once a double-digit lead with an 11-5 run heading into halftime.
The Knights’ shooting woes continued in the second half, as Mercyhurst used an early 11-0 run to gain a 46-30 lead.
Gannon wouldn’t come within seven points the rest of the game, eventually losing 66-56.
Wright said that the Knights’ inability to get anything going on offense doomed them.
“I just don’t think a shot would go down for us the entire game,” Wright said. “If you shoot 32 percent, you’re not going beat anyone like that.”
Three Knights finished in double digits, as senior guard Julie Kleber, sophomore guard Jessie Tamerlano and junior guard Caitlyn Lowe scored 14, 12 and 10 respectively.
Gannon ran into another cold shooting performance in the first half against California.
Kleber nailed a 3-pointer five seconds into the game, giving the Knights their only lead.
Gannon would only shoot 8-of-30 from the floor for the rest of the half, falling behind by a score of 41-28.
The Knight offense finally saw the light of day in the second half, but California’s outside shooting held a Gannon surge back, much to the chagrin of Wright.
“Every time we would cut the lead down, [California] would hit a three,” Wright said.
The Vulcans hit 10 3-pointers in the game to down the Knights 71-62. Gannon was led by Kleber’s 17 points, her ninth straight game with double-digit points.
With two games left on the schedule, both at the Hammermill Center, the Knights have a chance to finish .500 on the season with a pair of victories, something sophomore forward Kelsey McCoy said she wants to do for the team’s upperclassmen.
“This might not have been the season we would have liked, but the seniors have helped us grow so much,” McCoy said. “We want to win these games for our seniors. This is our chance to give them a last ‘hurrah,’ especially on our home court.”
McCoy and the rest of the Knights will get their chance when they host Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The team will then face Clarion University 5:30 p.m. Saturday to finish off the season.