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Women’s Basketball Drops Defensive Battle to #7 Messiah (Pa.) in NCAA Second Round

Freshman forward Lilly Edwards scored 15 points in BW's second round loss to Messiah (Photo courtesy of Messiah College Athletics)
Freshman forward Lilly Edwards scored 15 points in BW's second round loss to Messiah (Photo courtesy of Messiah College Athletics)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – The Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team dropped a 64-51 defensive battle to seventh nationally-ranked and host Messiah (Pa.) College in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Freshman All-Ohio Athletic Conference forward Lilly Edwards (Dublin/Coffman) was the sole Yellow Jacket (20-8) to hit double figures with 15 points to go along with her team-leading eight rebounds.

Senior guard Maci Thornton posted a game-high 22 points in the win for Messiah (28-1) while senior forward Alecia Rohrer contributed identical numbers of 16 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

BW and Messiah went toe-to-toe to start the game, trading field goals until the Falcons finally got a stop on defense and came down the floor for a 10-6 lead. Both offenses then went cold for over three minutes of action until junior Academic All-OAC guard/forward Kara Marshall (Copley/Archbishop Hoban) split a pair of free throws at the 2:05 mark. The Yellow Jackets and the Falcons picked up right where they left off, trading baskets, until an offensive rebound by freshman forward Megan Scheibelhut (Avon Lake/Elyria Catholic) off a missed free throw led to a put back and a 14-14 tie at the end of the first period.

Defense was the mark for the first few minutes of the second quarter until Edwards made a layup with 7:55 left on the clock. The freshman then continued on a personal 6-0 run for the Yellow Jackets to take a 20-16 lead with 6:36 left. A 10-1 run gave Messiah a 26-21 lead before a traditional three-point play from junior two-time All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Riley Schill (Sheffield Village/Elyria Catholic) brought BW within two points. Only three more points were scored for the remainder of the half as the Falcons led 28-25 heading into the locker room.

The Yellow Jackets started out the second half on a 7-0 run, including five points from junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Kasey Hughes (Springboro), to take a four point lead. Messiah battled its way back to tie the game at 32-32 and again at 34-34. Late in the period, both sophomore forward Sydney Diedrich (Chardon/Gilmour Academy) and freshman guard Sydney Snyder (Kirtland) followed the Falcons' sharp three-point shooting with treys of their own to keep BW within three points of the lead. However, Messiah closed out the period with a jumper in the waning seconds to hold a 45-40 advantage.

Neither team was able to find the bottom of the net until the 7:03 mark when the Falcons knocked down a pair of free throws. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets were held scoreless themselves until Hughes made her two free throws with 6:38 remaining. The first made field goal of the period came with 5:05 on the clock with a Schill layup. However, foul trouble helped Messiah to pull ahead, especially with two crucial and-one plays to build up to a multiple-possession lead that BW could not overcome in the 64-51 loss.

BW finishes the season 20-8, making the program's 14th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Yellow Jackets return the core of their roster and will seek a return to the national level in 2019-20.