ANDERSON — Rebuilding years for a college program often involve many ups and downs. The Anderson University women’s basketball team experienced both Saturday during the season opener at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium as the Ravens fell to the Lindenwood Lynx 85-75
With the graduation of Amy and Ashley Wuestefeld, Ravens coach Marcie Taylor was left searching for a way to replace the 23.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game the twin duo accounted for during Anderson’s 8-17 campaign a year ago.
This year's Ravens team is a sort of youth movement with seven freshmen on the roster, five of whom saw action Saturday, and one stood out — Shelby Shaffer.
“She is phenomenal,” Taylor said. “We knew she was good in high school, and this offense helps her thrive because it gives her a lot of space to do things. We are excited to have her for four years.”
The 5-foot-3 point guard showed the skill of a veteran as she orchestrated the Ravens offense for the entire 40 minutes of play. She led Anderson in points with 20 and rebounds with eight. Her four assists and two steals tied for the team high.
“She plays so hard,” Taylor said. “Her MO in high school a little bit was that she would get hurt occasionally, because she plays so hard, but out of fatigue ... fatigue can lead to injuries. We can not afford to have her get hurt.”
Shaffer showed her fearlessness when she drove the lane with the much taller Stephanie Cathcart, 6-1, defending the basket. The former Center Grove star tossed in an acrobatic shot and drew the foul for the old fashion three-point play.
“I don’t let their height intimidate me,” Shaffer said.
Other double-figure scorers included sophomores Cassidy Mutz (11) and Mallory King (14) and junior Cori Conner (18).
Where Anderson was hindered was overall team speed, which the Lynx had, and that translated in them having the ability to drive to the basket and outscore the Ravens 46-24 in the paint.
“They had speed and girth, but athletic,” Taylor said. “We had a difficult time handling 15 and 44. They were exceptional players.
Diamond Burt (No. 44) led all scorers with 25 points, 19 of which came in the second half, and Breana McCullough (No. 15) had 19.
“We competed hard with a very good team,” Taylor said. “When (Lindenwood) got up by double digit points, we didn’t roll over and let it go to a 30-point ballgame. We competed hard down the stretch.”
The Ravens will face Albion, which Lindenwood defeated on Friday 92-78, today at 1 p.m. to conclude the round-robin style tournament.