IUP women defeat Clarion; focus shifts to season finale

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The IUP women’s basketball team won its eighth straight game, 68-57, over Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rival Clarion University Wednesday evening at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

Junior Megan Smith (management) led the Crimson Hawks by scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against the Golden Eagles.

Smith was 8-of-15 from the floor, adding one assist and one block. She also currently leads the team in points this season with 14.5 per game.

Wednesday’s performance was Smith’s second double-double of the season; her first came in a loss to Edinboro University in mid-January.

Sophomore Brittany Robinson (early childhood and special education) added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Robinson had four rebounds, three blocks and three assists.

Redshirt sophomore Lauren Wolosik (economics) also shined, scoring 17 points with nine rebounds, three steals and one assist.

“We didn’t take this game lightly,” Wolosik said. “We had a little chip on our shoulder because last time we played Clarion, we lost, so we went out there and did what we do best: competed until the very end.”

As a team, the Crimson Hawks shot at 42 percent (25-of-59) compared to their opponent, who shot 37 percent (23-of-62) from the floor.

The Golden Eagles, however, held a slim 37-35 rebounding margin. Clarion also turned the ball over 15 times, 11 of which were IUP steals.

“Winning this game was super important to us because in the beginning of the season, we lost to them, and this time it was all about showing everyone what IUP women’s basketball is all about,” Robinson said.

With Wednesday’s win, the Crimson Hawks secured a first-round bye into next week’s conference tournament quarterfinals and improved to 20-5 overall and 18-3 in the PSAC West.

The win gave IUP its third consecutive 20-win season under head coach Tom McConnell and 10th 20-win season since 1998-99.

The Crimson Hawks travel to California University of Pennsylvania Saturday for their last regular-season game.

IUP lost to Cal back in January, 75-52, at home. With an overall record of 25-2 and 19-2 in the conference.

The Vulcans remain in the No. 1 spot in the PSAC West standings with IUP sitting right behind them.

However, due to Cal’s loss to Mercyhurst University, IUP will have its chance to tie for first place in the PSAC West division conference with Cal.

“We’re going to work hard in practice by going over sets and preparing our own offense,” Robinson said about the upcoming game.

“We have more confidence, composure and heart from the last time we played them in the beginning of the season.”

Saturday’s game against Cal will mark the biggest game of the season for the Crimson Hawks due to its seeding implications moving forward into the PSAC playoffs. A No. 1 seed would certainly be an advantage for the Crimson Hawks.

Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.