MILLERSVILLE, Pa. — Senior Ariel Jones (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest), scored a career-high 51 points Monday night to break three major records: the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) single-game scoring record, the NCAA Division II career free-throws made record, and the PSAC career points record, as the Raiders dominated the second half to defeat Millersville, 90-74, at Pucillo Gymnasium.
Jones surpassed Shippensburg University Hall of Famer Lauren Beckley’s school and PSAC career points record of 2,407 – she only needed four entering Monday night but after her 51-point explosion, now has 2,455 points. It is the most points scored by a woman in an NCAA Division II game in more than two years, since Drury’s Hailey Diestelkamp scored 53 points against Rockhurst on Feb. 29, 2020.
Meanwhile, her 14-of-14 effort at the free-throw line Monday moved her past West Texas A&M’s Emily Brister to become the NCAA Division II record holder for free throws. Jones needed five to pass Brister (763), and more than surpassed that mark.
“I only knew about the one record, I didn’t know about the free throws,” Jones said afterward.
By the end of the night, Jones was 15-of-25 (60 percent) from the field, 7-of-14 (50 percent) from the three-point line, and perfect at the free-throw line (14-of-14). The 51 points eclipses the previous record of 48 shared by Jones (achieved earlier this season against Mercyhurst) and Millersville’s Terri Gunder (set in 1971 vs. Rowan).
“I think the pressure was a little more off since she only needed four points,” head coach Kristy Trn said. “I hope it’s a huge weight off her shoulders, because have been talking about this for four years.”
Trn added, “I feel very blessed. I was blessed to have coach Lauren Beckley and now Ariel has given me the second opportunity to feel that. I thought it was a great gesture that Mr. and Mrs. Beckley were here tonight at the game to pass the torch on to Ariel.”
Jones scored her first bucket of the night less than two minutes into the game and at the 6:11 mark in the first quarter, Jones banked her first three of the night to officially break the all-time PSAC career points record. Shippensburg (15-3, 10-2 PSAC), however, trailed by six points entering the second quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, SU made three consecutive threes (two from Jones and one from graduate Erin Gibbons (Swoyersville, Pa./Wyoming Valley West (Mansfield))) to take a one-point lead. The game would go back and forth, with the game tied 32-32 with less than six seconds left in the half, only for Millersville (10-8, 6-6) to score a late jumper to take a two-point lead into halftime.
The third quarter was the turning point for the Raiders, with Gibbons making back-to-back threes, a fastbreak layup from junior Treasure George (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) and a fastbreak jumper from Jones that gave the Raiders an eight-point lead, 46-38.
SU did not stop momentum from there, and went on a 6-2 run to have a 52-42 lead. The Marauders came back in the end with back-to-back threes to narrow the deficit to three points. At the 2:16 mark of the third quarter, Jones hit two free throws to break Brister’s NCAA Division II record.
Heading to the fourth quarter, the Raiders were up by five points. Jones was red hot from beyond the arc, making all three of her attempts in the quarter, and going 7-of-7 at the free-throw line. SU was 9-of-12 (75 percent) from the field and 12-of-13 (92.3 percent) at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
With 3:12 left, Jones was at 44 points, but she scored seven more points to move into sole possession of the conference record. She had 22 points alone in the fourth quarter, one point shy of how many points Millersville scored in the fourth quarter (23 points).
Jones added a team high of six assists and had six rebounds and two steals. Her seven three-pointers and 15 field goals made are both new career highs. She also drew 14 fouls on an unforgettable night.
Sophomore Abbie Miller (Camp Hill, Pa./Cumberland Valley) had her fifth double-digit scoring game this season with 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. Gibbons added nine points, matched Jones with a team high of six assists, and had two rebounds. PSAC Defensive Athlete of the Week graduate Lauren Pettis (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) had eight rebounds, eight points, a block and a steal.
Shippensburg will host Shepherd on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Heiges Field House.
Ariel’s Records and Career Highs Tonight:
- 51 points – All-Time PSAC Single Game Scoring Record – Tied for 10th in NCAA Division II Single-Game History
- 2,455 career points – All-time PSAC Career Points Record
- 773 Free Throws Made – All-Time NCAA Division II Career Free Throws Made Record
- 14-of-14 Free Throws Made – career high for single-game free-throw percentage
- 7 three-pointers made – career high (one three-pointer shy from tying SU’s single-game record)
- 15 field goals – career high
- 18 points in the first half, 33 points in the second half (Points by Quarter: 7-11-11-22)