Yellow Jackets Sweep OAC Trophies for First Time Since 2008

BW Storms Past JCU, Giving them Worst Loss of Season

For the first time since 2008, the No. 10 Nationally Ranked Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets women’s basketball team can say they were the OAC Champions in the regular season, and the OAC Tournament champions. On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets trounced the No. 25 nationally ranked John Carroll Blue Streaks, 80-63, inside the Ursprung Gymnasium at BW

The championship win marked the first time in program history that the team eclipsed 18 OAC victories, and its first time beating every OAC opponent twice since they went 16-0 in 1998-99. Head Coach Cheri Harrer said there was one thing that explains why this group has been special all season, “It’s their togetherness,” Harrer said. “They really do care about each other; they really don’t care who’s the leading scorer. They just want to win and make plays together and that makes them so special.”

Senior Hannah Fecht, who led the game with 24 points, said that the seniors have made a lasting impact on the entire team “I would say no one wants individual accolades, they’re not worried about that,” Fecht said. “Everyone wants to win together, and we all have love for each other which makes us so special.”

Harrer, who celebrated her seventh OAC Tournament Championship win since 1999, said the game plan, even with the championship on the line, remained the same, “We said if we go out and we play BW basketball as well as we can, the scoreboard would take care of itself,” Harrer said.

BW used a 15-5 start in the first six minutes of the game to race out to a 23-7 lead after the first quarter. The tough Yellow Jacket defense held John Carroll to under 10 points for the first 11:20 of the game.

Offensively, Fecht led the team with a perfect 7-7 mark from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line. Seniors Kara Marshall and Riley Schill dropped in 10 and 11 respectively. Also joining them with double digit scoring was junior Sydney Diedrich who scored 13 points. Only Marshall had scored in double digits on Thursday night.

Hughes said that multiple leading scorers this week is exactly what BW aims to have, especially leading up to the NCAA Tournament, “It’s so important, and that’s one of major strengths going against any team,” Hughes said. “We always talk before the game about how they even scout us because on any given night, some person just goes off. That’s our strength and that’s what makes this team so fun. It’s not make or break on one person it’s truly all of us.”

John Carroll responded in the second quarter, shooting over 53% from the floor, meanwhile holding the Jackets to just 6-18 shooting. But for Harrer in the Yellow Jackets, watching JCU have their best quarter and only outscore the Yellow Jackets by one point built into their confidence, “We knew if we could just play our game, there would not be much more we could do,” Harrer said. “I was actually more upset with the layup we gave up ending the quarter, I didn’t like that.”

In the third quarter, BW went back to finish the job. Their defense held John Carroll to just nine shot attempts. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jacket offense would extend its lead to 22 when Fecht drove to the lane, put in a layup through contact and converted the and-one opportunity at the free-throw line.

The fourth quarter gave the Yellow Jackets some time to breathe. They mainly played defense as JCU put up 19 shots, and only let the Yellow Jackets get off six attempts. At the same time, BW shot 10-14 from the free throw line to seal the victory.

But Harrer said that as a coach, you can’t count a game over until it’s over. “I didn’t know we would win until we put those last kids in,” Harrer said,

The 17-point margin over JCU tied the Blue Streaks’ worst loss of the season, with their only other 17-point loss coming to Denison University back on Nov. 20, 2019.

BW now looks ahead to representing the OAC in the NCAA Tournament, earning an automatic bid when the final horn sounded. The NCAA Tournament selection show will be aired Monday, March 2 with BW set to host at least the first round.

Fecht gained experience at the tournament last year, but due to injury couldn’t see game action. Even without playing, she knows that everyone on the team this year will know how special the tournament is, “It’s so special, and this team is so special and being able to be on the floor and being able to play is unbelievable. I can’t even explain the feeling.”