Though they aren’t ranked in the preseason polls, The Baldwin Wallace Women’s Basketball team has been projected to finish first in this upcoming 2019-2020 OAC season based on the Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Head Coach Cheri Harrer enters her 30th season as the coach of the Yellow Jackets, with a 584-221 record and a 27-year streak of winning 15 games or more, winning at least 20 games in 16 of those seasons.
Last year was BW’s 14th appearance at the NCAA Tournament under Harrer and she led the team to finish with a 20-8 record, and a 13-5 OAC record.
After reaching the NCAA Tournament berth as one of the at-large teams, the team defeated RIT, before falling in the second round to No. 20 Messiah College.
Now, the Yellow Jackets have been identified as the team to beat.
Despite the success and early projections hyping up her team around her, Harrer stayed realistic, knowing all the work that still has to be done and knows that her team last year just snuck into the tournament, but still has nothing but high goals for the team this year, “Our goals are obviously really high. Our players not only want to get in, but they want to go further in the NCAA Tournament,” Harrer said. “We have the toughest non-league schedule we have ever had and if we can get six or more wins in that schedule, and compete well in the OAC, we have a shot at another at-large as well.”
Last year, the team was clearly led by their upperclassmen, but freshman Lilly Edwards had a big breakout year.
With a lot of room to grow Harrer had nothing but confidence in how Lilly and the team, as a whole, will continue to grow and mature this season.
She was confident in her seniors to carry the weight. “We always talk about team first and really don’t highlight any one player,” Harrer said. “We have five seniors who all will impact the team in one way or another. Hannah Fecht returns as a fifth year senior. As a junior, she was a first-team all OAC player and missed all but 4 games last year with a broken wrist.
Lilly had a great freshman year and is a big part of our team, but we have lots of other players who are good as well and we hope a few of them will step up and contribute in big ways this year as well.”
Lastly, as the OAC is a tough conference, Harrer was confident about how the team will shape up against the other teams in the conference.
She was very hopeful yet realistic as she said, John Carroll University won the OAC tournament last year and return all of their top players and also brought in a Division I and Division II transfer, and therefore are listed as the favorite.
Capital and Marietta are loaded with talent as well. “The league is always incredibly tough with the bottom team beating the top team on any given night. We will have to be great defensively and play really well together,” Harrer said.
“We will have to be incredibly consistent and play really well every time we step on the floor. If we become great defensively, on the boards, and play really well together we can win the OAC.”
We will all get a chance to see if the Lady Yellow Jackets can lead up to Harrer’s expectations as they open their 2019-2020 schedule on Friday Nov. 15 in the Chuck Ressler Tournament as they take on Skidmore College.