BEREA, Ohio -- The Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team is poised for a championship run in the Ohio Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III in 2016-17.
Veteran Head Coach Cheri Harrer, who enters her 27th season and has a career record of 527-197 at helm of the Yellow Jackets, returns 11 letterwinners and four starters from last year's squad that advanced to the OAC Tournament Championship for the second straight season.
BW returns its backcourt, including three-year starting All-OAC and Academic All-OAC point guard Mackenzie Colombo (Strasburg). Colombo, who has started every game since landing in Berea, had career-highs last season in points-per-game (9.3), rebounds-per-game (2.6), assists (69) and steals (33). Junior Academic All-OAC guard Katie Smith (Fairview Park/Fairview) returns as the shooting guard. Smith started all 28 games a season ago and had career-highs with 169 points, 52 rebounds and assists with 30 as well as leading the team in three-point shooting at 41 percent.
Joining Colombo and Smith in the backcourt will be sophomores Hannah Fecht (Hilliard/Davidson), Hailey Grant (North Royalton/St. Joseph's Academy), MacKenzi Matthews (North Royalton) along with newcomers Tiffany Bentler (North Canton/Hoover), Sabrina Gennotti (Oakdale, Conn./Montville), Kasey Hughes (Springboro), Kara Marshall (Copley/Archbishop Hoban) and Riley Schill (Sheffield Lake/Elyria Catholic).
Fecht appeared in all 28 games and averaged 6.1 ppg. Grant and Matthews, who saw limited time last season, along with Bentler, Gennotti, Hughes, Marshall and Schill will look to crack into the rotation.
Up front, the Yellow Jackets return two starters in All-OAC and Academic All-OAC forward Sydney Clark (Parma/Lake Ridge Academy) and junior All-OAC forward Clara Lemmon (Canton/Louisville). Clark had her second consecutive standout season as she had career-highs with 10.1 ppg., 54 assist and 35 steals. Lemmon posted career-bests in rebounds (215), assists (37) and steals (27).
Joining Clark and Lemmon in the paint will be junior Megan Schubert (Defiance/Ayersville), sophomores Lauren Camm (New Albany, Ind.), Alex Starr (Millersburg/West Holmes), Courtney Basinger (Akron/Coventry), Courtnay Cruise (Wooster/Triway) and Rachel Womeldorf (Lewis Center/Olentangy) as well as first-year player Autumn Richards (Northfield/Nordonia).
Schubert, Starr, Womeldorf provide the most experience up front as each saw considerable playing time a year ago. Schubert appeared in 19 games of the bench, Starr saw action in 25 contests and Womeldorf appeared in all 28 games with 12 starts. Cruise and Camm saw limited time last season while Basinger missed the entire season with an injury. The trio along with Richards will all look for playing time.
The Yellow Jackets open the 2016-17 campaign on Tuesday, November 15 when they host a non-conference game against Oberlin College in the Ursprung Gymnasium. The Yellow Jackets open OAC play against the Marietta College on December 3 in Marietta.