BEREA, Ohio - The No. 10 nationally-ranked and top-seeded Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team advanced to the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals, as it defeated eighth-seeded Otterbein University in the quarterfinal round by a final score of 87-59 in Ursprung Gymnasium.
With the win, BW (24-2) extended its season-high win streak to 10 games and remained undefeated on its home court with a perfect 13-0 record. The Yellow Jackets also secured back-to-back victories over Otterbein (12-14), after beating the Cardinals in Westerville on Saturday. BW's three-game season sweep of Otterbein improved its all-time record against the conference foe to 61-31.
The victory also marks the Yellow Jackets' first trip to the OAC Tournament Semifinals since the 2016-17 season. Following today's action around the league, Marietta College, the winner of the four-versus-five matchup against Capital University, will take on BW in the next round, with the top-seeded Yellow Jackets controlling home court advantage.
BW's offense was led by a plentiful five scorers in double-figures. Senior All-OAC guard/forward Hannah Fecht (Hilliard/Davidson) scored a game-high 17 points, to go along with four rebounds and two steals. Senior Academic All-OAC guard/forward Kara Marshall (Copley/Akron Archbishop Hoban) contributed with 14 points, three boards and two assists. Meanwhile junior guard Gabby Garrett (Columbus/Bishop Watterson) was a key component of the Yellow Jackets' bench production, garnering 10 points, three rebounds, and a game-high three steals in the victory.
The Cardinals attack was spearheaded by senior guard Hailey Bauer, the lone double-digit scorer for Otterbein. Bauer poured in a team-high 13 points, in addition to two boards and two assists in the loss.
After sinking the game's opening basket, the combination of a sluggish start from BW and a sharp-shooting first quarter for Otterbein culminated into a 19-3 run for the Cardinals until the 3:21 mark of the period. As alluded to, Otterbein's hot shooting invovled a 5-6 performance from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Sensing some trouble early, the Yellow Jackets turned to Marshall, who halted the run with two consecutive baskets below the rim. The Cardinals held their peak-lead of 14 at the end of the frame.
Defense was the theme for BW in the second quarter, as they limited their adversaries to a mere 14.3 percent (2-14) shooting in the period. Subsequently, their stellar defense led to offensive opportunies as the Yellow Jackets began chipping away at the Otterbein lead. BW embarked on a 15-6 run to begin the second quarter, capped off by a pull-up jumper and a pair of three-pointers on consecutive possessions from Fecht in just 1:42. The Yellow Jackets then held the Cardinals scoreless for the remaining 5:02 of the quarter, on route to garnering their first lead of the game since its opening basket.
Otterbein managed to score the second half's first two baskets to regain a two-point lead. However, BW was still able to carry its momentum from a terrific second quarter, scoring 14 of the game's next 16 points to increase its lead to double-digits at the 3:45 mark of the third. The Yellow Jackets' excellent scoing opportunities resulted in an abundance of layups at the rim and a 61.5 shooting percentage for the frame.
BW's offensive wave spilled into the fourth quarter as well, as it outscored the Cardinals 11-3 in the period's first 2:36. The two adversaries then consistently exchanged jabs in a back-and-forth battle, as BW remained reluctant to surrender its double-digit lead. The clock eventually wound down the remaining minutes of Otterbein's seasn, as the Yellow Jackets secured the commanding victory and punched its ticket to the next round of the OAC Tournament.
BW will return to the hardwood on Thursday, February 27, when it hosts Marietta for the OAC Tournament Semifinals in Urpsrung Gymnasium at 7:00 p.m.