CUP Women’s Hoops Headed to Playoffs For First Time Since 2010; Men Win on Late Shot

Delrika Jones-Carey
CLARION, Pa. – The Clarion women’s basketball team punched its ticket to the PSAC Tournament for the first time since the 2012-13 season, defeating Slippery Rock 70-62 to clinch a playoff berth.

The Golden Eagles (14-10, 11-7 PSAC) also clinched an overall winning record for the first time since the 2009-10 season and their first season of .500 or better in conference play since the 2007-08 campaign.

A balanced effort was required to finish the job, though, with four players reaching double-figures in scoring. Delrika Jones-Carey had a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added seven rebounds and two blocks. Jordan Bekelja finished with 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Tyra Polite and Jen Straw tied for the game-high with eight rebounds apiece, and the duo finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Ashley Deleonibus excelled off the bench with eight points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in just 15 minutes.

Redbank Valley graduate Brooke Hinderliter led Slippery Rock with 15 points and five rebounds with Karns City graduate LeeAnn Gibson adding seven points and seven rebounds.

Clarion was deadly efficient in the second half, shooting 12-of-24 (.500) from the field to hold off the feisty Rock. They upped their lead to three possessions by the end of the third quarter and held serve throughout the fourth as Slippery Rock never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Slippery Rock led 16-10 at the end of the first quarter and at one point held a 20-10 advantage, but Clarion responded with a 13-1 run to stun the Rock and re-take control of the game. Deleonibus knocked down a jumper from the elbow to tie the score at 21 with 4:45 remaining in the quarter, and Jones-Carey sank a pair of free throws on the next possession to put the Golden Eagles ahead 23-21. Things got out of hand quickly as the run turned into a 20-3 rout, with Bekelja making it 30-23 with 1:45 left. When Jones-Carey made a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left, she punctuated what had been a 24-7 run to close the first half and gave the Golden Eagles a 34-27 halftime lead. The Rock never led again.

The status quo remained much the same in the third quarter, with Clarion taking a 54-45 lead after a midrange make by Straw with 29 seconds left in the period. The Golden Eagles enjoyed their largest lead of the night early in the fourth quarter after a three-pointer from Bekelja made it 59-47, and the edge never dipped below three possessions the rest of the way.

MEN’S BASKETBALL USES GAME-ENDING 6-0 RUN TO BEAT THE ROCK

CLARION, Pa. – Down 61-58 with just over a minute left in regulation, BJ Andrews and Jamani Pierce both hit 3-pointers with Pierce’s coming with six seconds remaining to lift the Clarion Univerity men’s basketball team to a 64-61 win over Slippery Rock Wednesday evening at Tippin Gymn.

Down by three, Andrew hit a three to tie the game, and then the Golden Eagles got a big defensive stop leading to one final rush up the floor with time ticking down. Pierce found an open look in the corner and heaved up another three, which yet again found its mark. The three gave CU a three-point lead with six seconds remaining, and while SRU got off one last desperation attempt, it ultimately fell short.

The wins moves the Golden Eagles to 7-18 on the season, including 4-15 in PSAC play. The Blue and Gold return to action Saturday when they host Cal U at Tippin for senior day.

Cam Grumley led the way offensively for the Golden Eagles, finishing with a team-high 19 points, as well as three assists and three rebounds, also a team-high. Pierce led the team in rebounds with eight. As a unit the Golden Eagles shot 50% from the field, including 6-15 (40%) from beyond the three-point line.

The game was a tightly contested, low scoring affair, with Slippery Rock’s commitment to stifling defense evident from the opening jump ball. The Rock clung to an eight-point lead with time winding down in the first half, however a nice pull-up jumper from BJ Andrews and a late three from Grumley put the Golden Eagles within three points after the first twenty minutes.

CU would continue to press and maintain a close game in the second, re-taking the lead several times on what would prove to be a very up-and-down half. They would make it count in the end, however, going right down to the wire to snatch a victory on home court.


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