The Gannon University women’s basketball team defeated both of its Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference foes last week.
The third-ranked Knights dominated Slippery Rock University, 71-39, Wednesday and handed rival Mercyhurst University a 70-56 loss Saturday, setting up a first-place matchup against No. 2 Edinboro University.
The Fighting Scots handed the Knights a 75-72 loss in overtime on Jan. 18. The defeat is the lone blemish on Gannon’s season.
Morgan Neighbors and Nettie Blake led the Knights in scoring against Slippery Rock.
Blake also contributed seven rebounds and Neighbors’ secured three in the blowout. Coach Jim Brunelli said he has been impressed with Neighbors’ play lately.
“Morgan Neighbors has been a huge spark off the bench…so much so that I nicknamed her the Flame Thrower because she heats up and catches on fire with her shot,” Brunelli said.
Brunelli said that the team played strong defensivly against Slippery Rock, and it has aided the squad as a whole.
“I am happy that we are executing both on offense and defense down the stretch,” Brunelli said. “That is a good sign that we are playing as a team.”
The Knights traveled to Mercyhurst Saturday to take on the Lakers. Jen Papich led the team with 22 points and six rebounds. Brunelli said Papich has played well and remained focused throughout the season.
“She is letting the game come to her instead of forcing the issue,” Brunelli said. “I’m very excited about the way she is playing and I’m very happy with her consistency on both ends of the floor.
“As for postseason….I’m not thinking about that at all. My and our only focus is on our next game.”
Blake also had a strong game against Mercyhurt while scoring 15 points and ripping down eight rebounds.
The Knights will host the Edinboro University Fighting Scots at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hammermill Center. Brunelli said the team is soley focused on their next matchup
“I think our mindset is good right now looking at Edinboro,” Brunelli said. “We know what to expect and we also have come a long way since that game.
“We have made great strides on the defensive end. We just need to continue to play team defense.”