Second Half Surge Lifts Women’s Basketball in Home, Season Opener

Junior Academic All-OAC guard Rachel Womeldorf
Junior Academic All-OAC guard Rachel Womeldorf
BEREA, Ohio – A second-half surge helped the Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team overcome a hot start by non-conference foe St. Vincent (Pa.) College to win its home and season-opener, 69-62, in the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium inside the Lou Higgins Center.
Four turnovers by the Yellow Jackets (1-0) in the first three minutes of the game allowed St. Vincent (0-1) to establish an early lead, one it maintained for the entirety of the first half. 
BW finally found some rhythm on offense when sophomore guards Riley Schill (Sheffield Village/Elyria Catholic) and Tiffany Bentler (North Canton/Hoover) combined for four points to cut the Bearcat advantage to three points with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter. 
Junior Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference forward Rachel Womeldorf (Lewis Center/ Olentangy) made a jump shot to open the second quarter, bringing the deficit down to one point at 11-10. St. Vincent went on a 9-1 run during the next three minutes to reopen a 20-11 lead. However, any time the Yellow Jackets tried to cut into the lead, the Bearcats would respond, eventually heading into the locker room at halftime with a 15-point advantage at 37-22.
Three key three-pointers, one by sophomore guard Kasey Hughes (Springboro) and two by senior Academic All-OAC guard Katie Smith (Fairview Park/ Fairview), gave the Yellow Jackets an infusion of energy to start the third quarter as they began to work their way back into the game. With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, sophomore guard/forward Kara Marshall (Copley/ Akron Archbishop Hoban) and junior All-OAC guard Hannah Fecht (Hilliard Division) made a layup and a three-pointer, respectively, that brought BW within five points. After a made basket by the Bearcats, the Yellow Jackets closed out the quarter with a 5-0 run, thanks to a three-pointer by freshman forward Sydney Diedrich (Chardon/ Gilmour Academy) and a layup by Bentler. A key to the third quarter run was BW making nione of 12 shots for 75 percent shooting.
Fecht gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the game at 48-47 when she opened up the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. St. Vincent countered with their own three-pointer to quickly regain the lead. Smith then calmly sunk two free throws to tie the game at 50-50 with 8:25 remaining. Womeldorf scored four consecutive points to give BW a 54-50 lead, one they would not relinquish, and forced the Bearcats to call a timeout. 
Following the timeout, junior guard Maria Morgan made a layup to bring the Bearcats back within two points but four free throws by Marshall and Schill gave BW its largest lead of the game at 58-52 with 5:11 remaining. Morgan then rattled off five points of her own to cut the Yellow Jacket lead down to one. Off a missed Fecht three, Diedrich grabbed an offensive rebound and sunk the layup to go up 60-57. Freshman guard Gabby Garrett (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) displayed a lot of poise at the charity stripe as she sunk four straight free throws late in the game to give BW a 64-57 lead. A 5-0 run by the Bearcats would fall short as the Yellow Jackets held their opponents scoreless for the final 2:03 of the game to eventually win 69-62.
Sophomore guard Kayla Slovenec was the game's high scorer with 14 points while Womeldorf led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points of her own. Fecht was BW's next leading scorer with nine points and Smith and Bentler each finished with eight points. Marshall was the team's leading rebounder with nine off the boards. 
The Yellow Jackets will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 18, when they travel down to Wooster to compete in the Nan Nichols Classic, hosted by The College of Wooster. BW will open up the tournament by taking on Hanover (Ind.) College at 1 p.m. inside Timken Gymnasium. 

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