The Baker Orange

BU guards lead women’s basketball team

Story by Sara Bell, Editor

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The No. 18 Baker University women’s basketball team continued its 11-game Heart of America Athletic Conference win streak Saturday, knocking off Graceland University 91-80 in Collins Center.

Although head coach Ben Lister was pleased with the Wildcats’ offensive effort, he was disappointed in BU’s lack of intensity on the defensive end.

“When you win 11 games in a row in the conference, you’re not going to play great basketball every single night,” Lister said. “You have to survive some of your nights, and I thought we kind of survived our lack of defensive effort by just playing outstanding offense.”

Seniors BriAnna Garza and Shea Shoemaker and junior Kyrstie Ehm anchored the Wildcats’ offense, combining for 55 of BU’s 96 points.

“I think Shea, Bri and Kyrstie were all hitting on all cylinders tonight, offensively,” Lister said. “If you get two out of the three to play well, you’re going to have a good night. When you have all three playing at that level, you’re going to score a lot of points because they’re just really effective players.”

The trio combined for seven of Baker’s eight 3-pointers, which forced Graceland to extend its defense. BU then penetrated the lane, scoring 28 points from the paint.

“We shot the 3-point ball really well. We struggled shooting the three at home recently, for whatever reason I don’t know. But I think that really opened things up in the second half for us to attack the rim,” Lister said.

While BU outrebounded the Yellowjackets, 42-38, Graceland was able to capitalize on its offensive boards, scoring 10 second-chance points. Baker’s defense also allowed five Yellowjackets to score in double figures.

Although the Wildcats held a double-digit lead for most of the second half, Lister said the team “didn’t do a good job of putting (Graceland) away.”

“I think our kids need to understand, especially after (Culver-Stockton College beat No. 7 MidAmerica Nazarene University), you don’t have nights off,” Lister said. “You’ve got to be ready to play. You never know what’s going to happen, and if you don’t want to take your opponent seriously, you’re capable of losing.”

Baker will look to improve to 12-1 in HAAC play Thursday against Benedictine College. The Wildcats earned a 69-56 road win against the Ravens earlier this season.

“I’ve told our girls from the beginning of the year, one thing you need to understand if you want to be an elite team – one win doesn’t say you’re better than somebody, two wins says that you’re the better team,” Lister said. “If they want to prove they’re better than Benedictine, they need to sweep them. That’s our mentality and that’s our goal. I think if you’re going to be a championship level team, splitting isn’t good enough.”

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