The Gannon University women’s basketball team will look to bounce back after a tough road stretch in which they went 1-1, earning a decisive 60-52 win over IUP but falling to Cal by a score of 81-73.
The Cal loss was the first time the Knights have given up 80 points since the Vulcans tallied as many on Jan. 22, 2011.
According to coach Cleve Wright, the Knights gave up so many points because they struggled with their transition defense .
“You’re not going to win on the road when you give up easy baskets,” Wright said.
The Knights, who have typically only been giving up an average of 57 points per game, still had their usual offensive output. With 73 points and a 59 percent shooting percentage from the field, Wright said the outcome of the game would have been surprising on paper.
“If you take those two stats alone you probably think we won the game,” he said.
Cal was also able to explode from behind the 3-point arc. Typically a 29 percent 3-point shooting team, the Vulcans shot 66 percent on 12 3-point attempts.
Wright said that although Cal shot well, he thought there were several shots that should not have gone unchallenged.
“Overall, defensively we did not have a good effort,” he said.
Despite the offensive pressure from Cal, Gannon was still able to keep it close, cutting the lead to as few as six in the final minutes of the game. The Vulcans were able to stave off the comeback by knocking down their free throws in the waning minute.
The Knights will look to get back in the win column as they host Edinboro University 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Clarion University on Saturday in the Pink Zone game beginning at 1 p.m.
Proceeds from the Pink Zone game will be entirely split between two local charities – Linked by Pink and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
The annual fundraiser to raise money for breast cancer research is especially meaningful for the Knights this year, as one of the players has a personal investment in the cause.
Freshman point guard Amanda Berchtold has seen her aunt battling breast cancer since her diagnosis four years ago.
“My aunt is a big part of my life and I really look up to her,” she said. “It’s so hard to watch her go through all of this.”
Berchtold, an Erie native, said that the Pink Zone game means a lot to her because all of the money is staying local.
“I hope that the money can help my aunt and everyone else in Erie who is fighting cancer,” she said.
She added that her team has been supportive to both the cause as a whole and to her personal situation.
“As a team, we have done a lot for this game to try to raise as much money as we can, and to also make it a great experience for all of the survivors who will be there,” she said. “I’m glad I can go through this experience with my aunt.”
The team is still selling Pink Zone T-shirts for $15, and every student wearing a shirt to the game will be eligible to win an iPad. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and other activities in the lobby of the Hammermill Center geared toward raising money.
In order to make the day a success not just for the fundraising aspect but for the game as well, Wright said that the team must come out with an attack mentality.
“That was a tough stretch for any team to go on,” he said. “We’ll be happy to be back home and to be supported by a good Gannon crowd.”