Johnson fills out the stat sheet; leads Rams past Millersville – Daily Local

WEST CHESTER >> Leah Johnson did it all Wednesday at Hollinger Field House.

The sophomore guard put West Chester on their backs against PSAC East rival Millersville, and in the process, Johnson got just enough help from her teammates to claim a 59-54 victory in women’s basketball . He snapped a six-game losing skid dating back to early December.

“Leah played like crazy, and we needed every point, every steal and every assist she gave us to get this win,” WCU head coach Kiera Wooden said.

He didn’t come against a top-notch opponent — the Marauders are now 1-12 overall — but at this point the Golden Rams can’t be picky. It was the team’s first outing in two weeks due to COVID protocols, and WCU is now 2-5 in the league (4-9 overall).

“It was good to get back on track,” Wooden said. “We haven’t played for two weeks, so we’re just happy to be back on the pitch, and almost at full strength.”

Johnson filled out the stat sheet in a way you rarely see. She scored a game-high 27 points (on 10-19 shooting), but also added six rebounds, six steals and six assists in 39 minutes of action.

“My teammates gave me the ball and in defense I did what I do. The coaching staff allows me to go out and make plays, and that’s what I did,” said Johnson said.

“You could tell by watching (Leah) – it was like, ‘we’re not losing this game,'” Wooden added. “And it wasn’t just on offense. His steals fueled our offense and helped us out in transition.

The Rams took the lead finishing the third quarter on a 16-4 streak. And Johnson was clearly the catalyst, scoring 12 of his team’s 16 points in the period. But West Chester didn’t take the lead for good before beating the Marauders 11-5 in the final five minutes of action.

“I thought we really dug in and trusted each other in the last five minutes,” Johnson said.

Johnson scored during hoop practice, then stole and fed freshman Morgan Warley for a quick break bucket. She also added a late free throw. But Warley and fellow freshman Nancy Ruf each added inside buckets, and a key theft by senior Justyn Roberts led to a pair of free throws by rookie Alexa Abbonizio to close it out.

“Justyn’s steal was huge, and we hit some big free throws,” Johnson explained.

“Teams that have been really good to us in the past had multiple weapons,” Wooden added. “We’re still working on that and we need to get production from people other than Lexa (Abbonizio) and Leah.

“We got that on the stretch.”

Johnson and Abbonizio combined to score the WCU’s first 20 points, and the Rams trailed 31-29 at halftime. Abbonoizio added 15 points, but no one else had more than six. West Chester’s four top class players combined to shoot 1 for 10 from the floor and combined to score four runs.

“It was just a matter of rust, part fatigue and having to find a rhythm,” Wooden said. “I think they will be fine.

“Do we expect more from them? Yes. Will they provide more: absolutely.

West Chester 59, Millersille 54

Millerville 15 16 10 13 — 54

West Chester 17 12 16 14 — 59

MILLERSVILLE – Shaw 0-4 2-2 2; William 0-2 1-2 1; Reed 3-8 0-0 9; List 6-16 4-5 16; Ortwein 1-2 1-2 3; McDonald’s 1-2 0-0 2; Taylor 1-4 0-0 3; Rodrigues 1-1 0-0 2; Beverly 3-6 1-1 8; Brown 0-1 0-0 0; Ricks 4-7 0-0 8. Totals 20-53 9-12 54.

West Chester – Ruf 103 1-2 3; Penjuke 0-2 0-0 0; Johnson 10-19 5-7 27; Jefferson 0-3 90-0 0; Abbonizio 4-13 3-4 15; Roberts 0-2 0-0 0; Red men 0-1 1-4 1; Warley 2-6 0-0 4; Holweg 1-4 0-0 3; Conran 2-4 0-0 6. Totals 20-57 10-17 59.

Three pointers: Reed 3, Taylor, Beverly, Johnson 2, Abbonizio 4, Holweg, Conran 2.

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