By: Ryan Sosic '19
BEREA Ohio- The Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team clinched the second seed in the 2019 Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament with a 72-65 victory over Otterbein University on Seniors' Day inside Ursprung Gymnasium at the Lou Higgins Rec Center.
BW (19-6, 13-5 OAC) was led by freshman forward Lilly Edwards (Dublin/Coffman) with a game-high tying and team-high 15 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Sydney Diedrich (Chardon/Gilmour Academy) contributed 14 points and junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Riley Schill (Sheffield Village/Elyria Catholic) posted 10 points and dished out a team-high and game-high tying six assists.
Otterbein (15-10, 11-7 OAC) was led by senior guard Ali Cartnal with a game-high tying 15 points. Sophomore guard Angelia Jackson, senior forward Dani Kissel and junior guard Delaney Cutterridge each tallied 12 points.
It was all Yellow Jackets to start the game as they got out an early 11-0 lead before the Cardinals were forced to call a timeout with 7:07 remaining. Otterbein remained scoreless over the next three minutes, finally getting on the scoreboard after two three-point field goals by senior guard Ali Cartnal to make the score 11-6. The Yellow Jackets weathered the Cardinals comeback and got the lead right back to 10 by attacking inside, highlighted by an and-one finish in the middle of the key by Edwards to head into the second quarter up 22-12.
BW got their lead up to 28-14 after sophomore guard Gabby Garrett (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) stole the ball and converted a fast break layup. The Yellow Jackets' aggressive offensive mindset got them into the bonus with 5:38 left in the quarter, which helped BW push their lead to 18, the biggest of the game. Otterbein made up ground over the last five minutes of the quarter after an 18-4 run to cut into the Yellow Jackets' lead at 38-34. Otterbein outscored the Yellow Jackets 22-16 in the second period.
The teams began the second half by trading buckets for most of the first five minutes of the quarter. A three-pointer by freshman guard Megan Hensel (Upper Sandusky) and a layup by Garrett got the Yellow Jacket lead back up to eight points before back-to-back layups by the Cardinals made the score 48-44 at the 4:20 mark. The Cardinals made it a one possession game minutes later thanks to a pair of free throws by Cartnal. The teams traded baskets before Kissel scored the last points of the quarter to make the score 55-52 heading into the last quarter.
The Cardinals took over the lead for the first time of the game at 57-55 with 7:21 remaining in the game after Jackson knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key. Less than a minute later, the Cardinals hit another three to extend their lead to five points. The game was tied at 65 with just over two minutes left in the game after Edwards connected on a pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Garrett the possession prior. The Yellow Jackets regained the lead after Edwards got the ball on the block and banked in a layup with just 54 seconds remaining. Huge free throws by senior Academic All-OAC forward Rachel Womeldorf (Lewis Center/Olentangy) and Garrett down the stretch helped the Yellow Jackets hold onto to a 72-65 victory.
The second-seeded Yellow Jackets will host seventh-seeded Ohio Northern University in the opening round of the OAC women's basketball tournament on Tuesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. The semifinals will be played on Thursday, February 21 on the campuses of the highest remaining seeds. The championship game will take place on Saturday, February 23 on the campus of the highest remaining seeds.