BW Women Rout Pioneers, Will Host OAC Championship

From the opening tip-off until the final buzzer, the Baldwin Wallace women’s basketball team was in control.

After beginning the game on a 12-4 run, behind perfect shooting for the first 2:50 of the game, the Yellow Jackets routed the Marietta College Pioneers, 72-41, in the OAC Semifinals. The game marked the third time BW defeated Marietta by a margin of 20 points or more this season.

BW outscored Marietta by 10 in the first quarter, a near polar opposite performance from their OAC Quarterfinal match up when Otterbein outscored them by 11. Head Coach Cheri Harrer said one particular group of players made sure the team wouldn’t start sluggish two games in a row, “That was our seniors and our senior leadership,” Harrer said. “Our seniors took it upon themselves to get themselves ready and get everybody else ready too and they did.”

“We just talked in film on Wednesday, and made sure that would never happen again,” senior All-OAC forward Hannah Fecht said. “We know that each game we play now gets harder, and I think the seniors showed really good leadership bringing the team together tonight.”

Leading the Yellow Jackets, from the opening basket, was senior All-OAC guard Kasey Hughes, who led the game with 17 points and tied teammate Riley Schill with three rebounds, shooting 6-8 from the floor, and 5-6 from three-point range. 11 of Hughes’ points came in the first quarter when she was a perfect 4-4 from the floor, but Hughes knew there was more than a hot hand involved, “My teammates really worked together passing the ball around,” Hughes said. “I think it just goes to show we all put in extra work after practice and things like that. A lot of it happens during practice but more goes on when the coaches aren’t there.”

Hughes was joined by two other teammates in double digits as senior All-OAC forward Kara Marshall was a perfect 5-5 from the floor, gathering 14 points and junior guard Gabby Garrett scored 11.

Along with Hughes, Fecht knew that coming into the game, BW’s offense was a mismatch to the Pioneers, “We knew their defense collapses a lot and we’re able to take advantage of that because we can drive and then play off two and kick it out to shooters,” Fecht said. “Then we’re just confident shooting the basketball.”

Thursday marked the third time this season that the Yellow Jackets shot above 44% against the Pioneers

But, for Harrer, the mantra of every game stays the same. “It’s our defense in general,” Harrer said. “When you get a lead, you want to limit the threes and stop them because that’s the quickest way back into it. We talked a lot about being there on the catch so they wouldn’t have easy looks at threes, and I thought they executed the defensive game plan really well.”

The defensive effort was one of the best from the Yellow Jackets all season, holding Marietta to 41 points and just 15-51 from the floor including 2-17 from three-point range.

BW now looks ahead to the OAC Championship game on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will host John Carroll University, the only OAC team to defeat BW this season, at 3:00 inside the Ursprung Gymnasium. The first two matchups have been quite the show, with the home team taking each contest by a

combined margin of nine points. Hughes said the team has knows it will take a lot to bring the trophy home on Saturday, “It’s going to take what we’ve been doing all year. We’re designed to beat teams like JCU and teams in the NCAA Tournament,” Hughes said. “I think just keeping how we play and keeping our cool and confidence. We know we’re going to have people there supporting us and it’s going to be an awesome environment. If we do all that I don’t see how we lose”

Fecht knows in her last career home game, some things have to remain consistent, “I think if we continue to love each other and play our hardest and be the most aggressive team we can come out with a win.”

And Harrer knows that even on short rest, her team knows what it will take to take home the hardware, “It’s always a barn burner, you know, our game there we were up 10 going into the fourth quarter and let it get away from us. Here they shot 62%, you just never know what will happen. Both teams will come in battling and we will see what happens. I know our kids are gonna compete but so much of that depends on who gets hot, who’s not, how it’s officiated if it’s tight or loose. There’s so many unpredictable things but we will just come out, compete, and see what happens.”