Through 19 games this year, the Baldwin Wallace University women’s basketball team (14-5) have been nothing short of dominant.
The team has excelled at both ends of the floor, holding their opponents to a meager 59 points per game on 36% from the field while hitting the net on 41% of their offensive shot attempts and scoring 70 points per game (+10.5 scoring margin per game).
Head coach Cheri Harrer credited the defense as a strong component of what the group tries to do on a nightly basis.
“Defense is definitely something we stress. There is no question that we can get out and run in transition better when we get stops,” Harrer said. “We talk about defense being the great equalizer of talent.”
Though a 14-5 record is something to be proud of, Harrer said they haven’t been perfect.
During the five losses, the group was actually leading or within three points heading into the final ten minutes in all but one of those games. After those experiences, Harrer is trying to get her team to understand the importance of closing out games.
“We talk all the time about the most aggressive teams wins. I think in many of those (losses) we tried to hold onto leads instead of staying aggressive and trying to push those leads out,” said Harrer.” We’ve also worked on our body language and how we work together to get stops and scores when the momentum starts to swing away from us.”
Their performance over the final ten minutes of the game has led to strikingly dichotomous results. The Jackets have found their best success this season when they’ve finished games strong.
In their 14 wins, they have won the fourth quarter ten times, tied twice and were outscored by only a single point during the fourth quarter of their most recent double-digit win against Muskingum University (1-18 record).
In stark contrast, the Jackets have been outscored in the fourth quarter in each of their losses (0-5) by an average of a seven-point margin.
The Jackets have benefited all year from a well-rounded attack, citing the fact that they currently have seven players averaging 5.7 points per game or more, including two players averaging double-figures. The bench has also contributed in a big way, producing 29.5 points per game (42% of total scoring) to take some pressure off of the starters.
While not extremely significant, it is worth pointing out that the bench has averaged slightly more points per game in the Jackets’ 14 wins (30.8) compared to their five losses (26.0).
Freshman forward Lilly Edwards has come in during her first season and has had immediate success. She is averaging team-highs in points per game (13.8) and rebounds per game (6.8), despite only getting the eighth most minutes per game. She has been particularly excellent as of late, contributing 16.8 points per game over her last six contests, including tying a career-best with 23 points BW’s most recent win against Muskingum.
Harrer acknowledged that “excellent fan support at home (is) definitely an advantage.” Students and faculty have three more chances to catch the team at home during the regular season.
They will host Ohio Northern University on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m., Capital University on Feb. 9 at 3 p.m., and close out their regular season against Otterbein University on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m.