ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team notched a nailbiting 74-68 Ohio Athletic Conference victory over the University of Mount Union inside the McPherson Academic & Athletic Complex.
Senior Academic All-OAC forward Rachel Womeldorf (Lewis Center/Olentangy) and freshman forward Lilly Edwards (Dublin/Coffman) had identical stat lines of 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Yellow Jackets (18-6, 12-5 OAC), marking a career high for Womeldorf on the glass. Junior Academic All-OAC guard Kasey Hughes (Springboro) added 10 points of her own.
Junior guard Tori Rappach put up a game-high 15 points for the Purple Raiders (17-7, 10-7 OAC) in the loss. Sophomore guard Elena Rauhe registered a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds while senior forward Jaime Sanborn and sophomore forward Sarah Hessel contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Both teams established their perimeter shooting early as BW cashed in on back-to-back three-pointers from junior Academic All-OAC guard/forward Kara Marshall (Copley/Archbishop Hoban) and freshman guard Megan Hensel (Upper Sandusky) to jump out to an 8-2 lead. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jacket defense stood solid until Rauhe connected from deep at the 4:36 mark to spark the Purple Raider offense. Another Mount Union trey tied game at 10-10 before BW went off on a 6-0 run. Rauhe's hot hand cut the deficit down to just one point but Womeldorf nailed a three-pointer at the top of the key to beat the first quarter buzzer for a 19-15 Yellow Jacket lead.
Womeldorf then beat the shot clock to open the second-quarter scoring with a jumper while Hensel followed with a deep three-pointer. With the Purple Raiders focused on covering the perimeter, Edwards started to assert her dominance in the paint to build up to an eight-point lead at 28-20 with 5:53 left. Mount Union continued its hot shooting from beyond the arc, taking a one-point lead in the final minute and adding on with a buzzer-beating trey for a 35-33 halftime advantage.
A steal on the Purple Raiders' opening possession led to a three-pointer from sophomore forward Sydney Diedrich (Chardon/Gilmour Academy) on the other end of the floor. For the next five minutes of action, both teams traded one-possession leads until Diedrich hit another trey at the 3:20 mark to put the Yellow Jackets up by four points, 49-45. Perfect trips to the free throw line from Edwards, freshman guard Sydney Snyder (Kirtland) and Marshall gave BW a 55-49 lead heading into the final period.
Hot perimeter shooting continued into the fourth quarter, including a banked three-pointer from both teams on back-to-back possessions. After a two-minute scoreless stretch, Mount Union began to chip away at the lead and eventually got within one point at 67-66 with 1:48 left in the game. With the shot clock winding down, Hensel stepped into and drained a three-pointer with 31.6 seconds for a 70-66 lead. The Purple Raiders brought the game back within two points thanks to a layup but blocks from Diedrich and Womeldorf helped put Hughes on the free throw line where she converted all four of her attempts to seal the victory.
With one game remaining in the season, the Yellow Jackets sit solely in second place in front of Otterbein University and Marietta College. Both the Cardinals and the Pioneers are tied for third in the OAC.
BW returns home for the regular-season finale as well as Seniors' Day against Otterbein on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m.