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No. 11 Women's Basketball Suffers First OAC Loss to Crosstown Rival John Carroll

Senior guard/forward Kara Marshall (photo courtesy of Hailey Owens)
Senior guard/forward Kara Marshall (photo courtesy of Hailey Owens)

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – The No. 11 nationally-ranked Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team saw its six-game win streak snapped as it fell to crosstown rival John Carroll University by a final score of 59-53, in a battle of 2019 Ohio Athletic Conference juggernauts in the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center

With the loss, BW (14-2, 8-1 OAC) drops to 56-26 in its all-time series against John Carroll (14-2, 8-1). The Yellow Jackets suffered its first loss in conference play, having initially begun the season with eight straight OAC victories. Now, at the halfway mark of its conference regular season slate, BW sits tied atop the OAC standings along with the rival Blue Streaks.

The Yellow Jackets were led by two scorers in double-figures. Senior Academic All-OAC guard/forward Kara Marshall (Copley/Akron Archbishop Hoban) scored a game-high 14 points, in addition to grabbing four rebounds and two steals. Senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Riley Schill (Sheffield Village/Elyria Catholic) also contributed with 13 points and two steals in the defeat.

The John Carroll offense was spearheaded by junior guard/forward Nicole Heffington, sophomore center Olivia Nagy, and junior guard Dani Carlson. Heffington garnered team-highs of 13 points and nine rebounds, to go along with four assists and one steal. Nagy, the OAC's second-leading scorer and rebounder, poured in 10 points, grabbed eight boards, and blocked a game-high six shots. Carlson also chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds in the win.

The Yellow Jackets bought in to the crosstown rivalry by stepping up their defensive tenacity from the opening tip-off. Each of John Carroll's first three offensive possessions resulted in forced turnovers and were generated by steals on the BW defense. The Yellow Jackets' great defense out of the gate spurred an 8-2 run on offense. However, BW's quick lead was matched just as quickly, when the Blue Steaks proceeded to score the next six points and tie the game at 8-8. The first quarter presented a low-scoring affair with both teams struggling to shoot the ball from deep, combining for an unsuccessful 0-9 three-point shooting between the two. The second quarter showcased the definition of back-and-forth basketball, as both squads alternated points on each of its scoring plays for the entirety of the frame. The even distribution of offense culminated into a one-point lead for BW headed to the break.

The Yellow Jackets surrendered their first lead of the game with John Carroll's opening bucket of the second half, but regrouped and began gaining momentum. Capped off a Marshall and-one layup, BW erupted for a 12-1 run from the 5:50-1:30 mark of the third period. With the Blue Streaks still looming within striking distance, the Yellow Jackets were able to close the quarter with a 10-point lead, thanks to a driving Schill layup at the buzzer. Unenthused about giving up a double-digit lead to its crosstown rival on its home court, John Carroll began clawing back into the game. In addition to scoring the fourth quarter's opening six points, the Blue Streaks jumped to a 20-6 run to claim a four-point lead with 1:43 remaining in regulation. With BW struggling to find a basket in the closing minutes, the Yellow Jackets began intentionally fouling its opponents for possessions. Despite scoring on all three of their closing possessions, John Carroll remained cool at the free throw line, making all eight of their foul-line shots to close the game and the victory.

The Yellow Jackets will return to the court on Saturday, January 25, when they host Marietta College for an OAC matchup at 3:00 p.m. in Ursprung Gymnasium.