Wildcats advance to HAAC championship

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Wildcats advance to HAAC championship

Story by Sara Bell, Editor

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For the third-straight game, junior Krystie Ehm led the Baker University women’s basketball team at a time when the rest of the Wildcats struggled offensively.

The guard posted a game-high 19 points in Collins Center Saturday, helping the Wildcats earn a 69-60 victory over Missouri Valley College and a spot in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament championship.

“Kyrstie is playing her best basketball right now,” head coach Ben Lister said. “That’s her getting in the gym and taking extra shots and just being competitive and trying to make sure she’s playing at a high level every single night.”

During the teams’ previous two matchups, Missouri Valley led the Wildcats at halftime. The story was no different during the semifinal game. The Vikings led 34-31 at the break, but BU scored 38 points in the second half, putting the Wildcats into the title game.

“We’re a second half team. We seem to really get things going in the second half, particularly in the first five minutes. It’s always an area where we seem to excel,” Lister said.

Seniors BriAnna Garza and Shea Shoemaker, who are two of the Wildcats’ top three shooters, went a combined 7-30 from the floor during the contest. However, the Wildcats found other players to step up and make an impact. While Shoemaker made just three shots from the floor, she went 8-9 from the free-throw line. Garza chipped in 12 points, six of which came from behind the arc.

The win marked the Wildcats 17th-straight victory and improved their record to 26-5 on the season.

Baker will now host the No. 2 seed MidAmerica Nazarene University at 7 p.m. Tuesday for the HAAC title. The Pioneers handed Baker its lone conference loss this season, but BU avenged that loss with an 84-72 victory over MNU in Olathe.

Lister knows the team must prepare for several different facets of the game.

“It’s going to be another game, where you’re going to have to bring your “A” game for 40 minutes, and play with a lot of heart and a lot of passion,” Lister said. “(The Pioneers) are going to want to come in here and knock us off. I’m sure they are going to want to prove that they are the best team in the conference.”