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No. 20 ‘Cats improve in conference play

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No. 20 ‘Cats improve in conference play

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In eight of its nine Heart of America Athletic Conference games, the No. 20 Baker University women’s basketball team has outscored its opponents in the second half.<br/>

Baker continued its second-half dominance against Missouri Valley College on Saturday in Collins Center, powering BU to an 80-71 victory. With the win, the Wildcats extended their seven-game win streak and improved to 15-5 on the season.

While the Wildcats surrendered 16 turnovers in the HAAC matchup, the team made up for it on the glass, outrebounding MVC 51-36. Senior guard BriAnna Garza continued to lead Baker offensively, posting 20 points against the Vikings’ defense. Garza also received help from fellow senior Shea Shoemaker and junior Krystie Ehm. Shoemaker chipped in 16 points and a team-high four assists, while Ehm recorded 13 points and six rebounds.

The win over Missouri Valley came just days after the Wildcats dropped a season-high 102 points against Peru State College. Baker only had a five-point edge at halftime on Thursday, but the Wildcats unleashed for 56 points after the break, claiming a 102-68 road win.

The Wildcats are now 8-1 in HAAC play and second in the conference standings. No. 5 MidAmerica Nazarene University stands in the Wildcats’ way of the top spot, but Baker will have a chance to challenge the 15-1 Pioneers on Thursday.

Earlier this season, Baker fell to MNU 74-68 in Collins Center. But since then, the Wildcats have won nine of their last 10 games. MidAmerica Nazarene averages more than 77 points per game and has the NAIA’s second best field goal percentage. However, Baker’s defense ranks in the top 7 in rebounds and total blocks.

The top 20 matchup is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in Olathe.

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