The Baker Orange

Women’s basketball rolls through Grace

Story by Hayley Morrical, Writer

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The women’s basketball team stayed on top of its game to score a new season high against the Grace University Royals in its 87-38 win Nov. 25 in Omaha, Nebraska.

After a sweep at the HAAC/KCAC Challenge in Leavenworth on Nov. 14-15, the Wildcats lost at home to Haskell Indian Nations University, 79-70, and disrupted a three-game win streak. Baker’s 24 turnovers and Haskell’s 31 points off turnovers were the biggest differences in the Wildcats’ first loss to an NAIA school and third defeat of the season.

On the last day before Thanksgiving break and coming off of a tough loss, the Wildcats started a new winning streak and opened up the floodgates on Grace University. At half, Baker held a 14-point lead.

The Wildcats then dominated the second half in every statistical category. The 10th-ranked Wildcats put the hammer down with 49 second-half points on the way to their largest margin of victory this season. At 49 points this was also the Wildcats’ largest margin of victory in nearly one year. The Wildcats have played 35 games since they defeated Central Christian College of the Bible by 51 points on Nov. 30, 2013.

Tough offense, bench scoring and rebounding led the way to the win. Four Wildcats scored in double digits with junior Jami Hodge and senior Rashida Simpson doubling their averages and leading the way with 13 points apiece. The two combined to shoot 12-17 from the floor and 2-3 from the line.

Freshman Caitlin Modesett scored 12 points, knocking down five of 10 shots from the field of two of three from beyond the three-point line. Senior Kyrstie Ehm scored 10 points to go along with five assists and a 40 percent shooting night. In her first career start at Baker, sophomore Kelsey Larson scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds and made two steals before fouling out.

Together the team shot 51 percent from the floor and 31 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats held Grace to a season-low 23 percent from the field, 14 percent less than their opponents’ average field goal percentage.

The Wildcats out-rebounded Grace, 60-29, and doubled Grace in offensive rebounds, 22-11. Simpson was the only Wildcat with double figures in rebounds as she grabbed 10. Baker also blocked three shots, two from junior Macy Wallisch, who pushed her total up to 24 blocks on the season and 2.7 per game. Wallisch was second in the country in swats with 107 last season and continues to hold the second spot in that category. The Wildcats as a team rank fifth in blocks this season.

The Wildcats began their quest for a second consecutive Heart of America Athletic Conference regular season championship Thursday at the Cook Center in Olathe against the reigning HAAC Tournament Champion MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers. Results were not available at press time. MNU entered the game with a record of 6-2.

Baker will host the undefeated Central Methodist Eagles at 2 p.m. Saturday at Collins Center. The Wildcats will have to defend the best three-point shooter in the NAIA in Morgan Vetter. Vetter averages 4.5 threes per game while scoring over 17 points per game. The Eagles also out-rebound their opponents by an average of 19.5 boards per game, number one in the NAIA.

The last game before winter break is on the road at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 at Graceland. This will be the Wildcats’ toughest stretch of conference games until they face the same one-two punch in MidAmerica Nazarene and Central Methodist on Jan. 29 and 31.