Former Lady Titan leading SSU Bears past WV Tech

Mark Romesser

Jen Arnzen – Notre Dame Class of 2013

The Shawnee State women’s basketball program used 55.6 percent shooting from the field in the second half – including 54.5 percent from distance in the same frame – to turn a 37-24 halftime lead into another romp as the Bears defeated West Virginia Tech 87-55 in a nonconference bout at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.

Overall, Shawnee State would struggle at first as the Bears had a hard time finding open creases in the Golden Bears’ defense.

However, behind the hot shooting of Arnzen – who nailed four three-point attempts, all in the first half – as well as the rebounding efforts from the junior and frontcourt mates Ali Zieverink (SR/West Chester, Ohio) and Lydia Poe (FR/Jackson, Ohio), Shawnee State would eventually increase its advantage as the Bears grabbed a 55-45 edge on the boards.

Both Shawnee State (3-0) and West Virginia Tech (2-1) would trade blows early as Arnzen and Ashton Lovely (FR/Jamestown, Ohio) combined to score 10 of the Bears’ first 15 points. Their scoring brigade, however, was answered with a flurry of points from Rocio Ruiz-Berdejo as the senior scored eight points to give the Golden Bears a 16-15 advantage with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter of play.

Shawnee State, however, would put the clamps down on West Virginia Tech to end the first quarter of play, as good on-ball pressure from the Bears’ defense over the final four minutes of the frame allowed Shawnee State to go on a 6-1 tilt in taking a 21-17 lead following the first quarter of action.

Over the first three minutes of the second quarter, both teams would trade buckets as the Golden Bears cut the gap to a 23-21 deficit with 7:05 to play in the first half.

However, that aforementioned mark would be as close as West Virginia Tech would come not only for the rest of the half, but the remainder of the contest, as well.

During the final seven minutes of the second quarter, the Bears would use another tight, gritty defensive series to kickstart a 14-3 tilt, as Arnzen and Zieverink would use their length and scoring abilities to collect nine points in garnering a 37-24 lead at half for Shawnee State.

The Golden Bears would start the second half of play by going on a 6-2 tilt to cut the deficit to 11 points with 7:21 left in the third quarter of action.

However, the 11-point deficit would be as close as West Virginia Tech would come in the second half, as the Bears immediately responded with a quick 8-0 run off of a three-pointer apiece by Lovely and Abby Feuchter (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio) as well as a bucket from Zieverink to put the lead to as much as 19 before settling for a 55-37 advantage at the end of the third period of play.

In the fourth quarter, Lovely would begin to put on a masterful show as the freshman combo guard began to take control of the contest.

During one quick stretch between the 8:52 and 7:48 marks, the former three-star prospect would show her highly-coveted skills.

In that timeframe, the Jamestown, Ohio native would nail a deep-range three from around 25 feet, convert a silky-smooth behind-the-back dribble while passing a West Virginia Tech defender in finishing the play with an Euro-style layup, and on the very next Golden Bear possession, take a West Virginia Tech pass away.

Following the takeaway, Lovely then lobbed a dime ahead of the pack to Hannah Miller (FR/Coal Grove, Ohio), who finished with contact – converting the and-one opportunity in the process – to put Shawnee State ahead by a 65-39 count.

Lovely, however, wasn’t finished. On her next pair of three-point attempts, the senior would drop two more long-range bombs into the bucket to turn an 18-point Bears lead into a 29-point edge, while Zieverink added a layup for good measure to cap off an 18-5 Shawnee State run and put the Bears up by a 73-42 cushion.

Following Lovely’s barrage of points, it was Zieverink’s turn to take over, as following the senior’s layup conversion, the 5-11 forward would add seven more points off of great post-entry passes from Arnzen and Poe to put the contest on ice.

For the contest, Lovely would add 22 points – including 18 in the second half – to pace the game’s scorers and set a career high. Zieverink would add 21 points and nine rebounds while Arnzen would tie her career high in points and set a new career high in rebounds as the junior obtained her second double-double in a row as well as her third straight contest with 11 rebounds or more to start the season.

The Bears will have a day off tomorrow before taking the floor Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. to host Northwestern Ohio at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.


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