The Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team has reached the homestretch of their 2013-14 season schedule.
Four of the six games remaining will be played at home, and IUP has the opportunity to knock off strong teams such as Edinboro University, Gannon University and Mercyhurst University.
The Crimson Hawks started the month of February on the right foot with a win against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division opponent Clarion University.
Of course, they did not get to February without hitting their fair share of bumps in the road.
January was not kind to IUP. It saw the departures of high-scoring guard Lindsay Stamp (junior, criminal justice) and low-post threat Ashley Stoner (junior, English) from the lineup due to injuries.
Moreover, the team struggled at both ends of the floor during their losing streak of five games before snapping the streak at home to a subpar Slippery Rock team.
Now, the team has had a turn of fortune, and the women have been finding ways to win games while having their two best players unavailable.
The Crimson Hawks enter Saturday’s contest with Seton Hill University on a three-game winning streak. IUP will be looking to get a measure of revenge against the Griffins, who defeated the team in December, 63-62, in Greensburg.
At the time, the Crimson Hawks were ranked 25th in the nation.
In that game, Stamp recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 boards while Talen Watson (senior, sports administration) added 11 points.
Throughout the game, IUP struggled from the field and ended the game with a field goal percentage of 35.
The Griffins received production from senior guard Paige Aviani, who scored 17 points while senior forward Katie Gattuso grabbed nine rebounds and chipped in 15 points.
Seton Hill used a strong second half to beat the Crimson Hawks. IUP scored 27 points in the second half, which was eclipsed by the Griffins’ 40.
As the bench has given the Hawks an offensive jolt, it is a different IUP team the Griffins will be facing.
Leslie Stapleton (junior, biology/ pre-med) and Zhane Brooks (sophomore, chemistry) stepped up their game, especially Stapleton, who has seen the starting role in most of the games in which Stamp has been sidelined with a foot injury.
In order to win against the Griffins, the Crimson Hawks have to see production from their bench, much like they have on their winning streak.
If IUP takes care of the ball and gets production from its bench, it’s possible that the winning streak could continue.