Preview: Women’s basketball looks for win in rivalry game

It’s been seven days since we last saw the Waynesburg women’s basketball team in action. After a week’s rest, the Jackets prepare for a road game against a top four team in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and I-79 rival Washington & Jefferson Wednesday evening at 6. 

The Jackets snapped a three game losing skid this past Wednesday with a 35-point win over Geneva. They look to take carry that momentum on the road against stiffer competition. 

The Presidents [14-7, 9-4] are currently fourth in the PAC standings. One of their nine conference wins came Jan. 11 against Waynesburg. W&J’s highest single-game point total came against the Jackets, as Waynesburg allowed 95 points.

Contain Lauren Gilbert

W&J’s Lauren Gilbert tallied 40 points in that first meeting. The Jackets may have to go with a little different strategy against the Presidents’ junior. 

“Tie her shoes together,” coach Sam Jones said. “Really, we’re going to try to keep her in front of us and make sure we contest every shot.” 

Waynesburg had more players in double figures when it came to scoring, but Gilbert’s outburst outdid this stat. If the Jackets can keep Gilbert to her season average of about 14 points per game, Waynesburg may see a different result than the last time out. 

Feed The Hot Hand(s)

Waynesburg and W&J went toe to toe in all statistical categories in the January meeting. Other than Gilbert’s outlier performance, the Jackets and Presidents nearly mirrored each other in rebounds, field goal percentage and free-throw percentage. 

One constant that has continued since that game has been the emergence of sophomore Brooke Fuller and senior Alli Delaney. The two have combined to average 27.7 points per game and more 11 rebounds. Delaney’s seen quite the improvement in her game in what will be her only season as a Yellow Jacket. 

“I’m much more comfortable trying to get the basketball and pulling up if my three isn’t falling,” Delaney said. “I’ve gotten way more confident thanks to the coaches, girls and just a better mental point of view.”   

Don’t Get Caught Up

This game is important for more than geographical and historical reasons. This edition of the Presidents and Jackets has a lot of implications on both sides. Waynesburg is looking to climb the standings as they stare down the home stretch of its regular season schedule. 

Meanwhile, the Presidents are only a game behind third place in the PAC, so they’ll look to improve that mark. 

After tonight, three out of the next four opponents lost to Waynesburg in the first match up. Therefore, the Jackets are looking to gain momentum with a win at W&J, something Waynesburg hasn’t accomplished since 2017.

“We just have to continue to play hard with an attention to detail,” Jones said. “No extra stuff needed. We know what we need to do.”