The Baker Orange

Women drop to fifth in HAAC

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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The Baker women’s basketball team had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 69-66 loss to the Missouri Valley Vikings on Saturday in Marshall, Missouri. Baker finished with 18 turnovers and a season low 7-20 from the free throw line.

This loss, which followed a strong effort on Thursday when the Wildcats easily took care of the Peru State Bobcats in an 88-70 route, dropped Baker to 12-7 overall and 5-4 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Thursday

Peru State kept Thursday’s game close in the first half, but Baker blew the Bobcats out of the water in the second.

The Wildcats were aided by big performances from junior Macy Wallisch with 15 points and 9 rebounds and junior Ericka Simpson had 14 points and 4 assists. Senior Kyrstie Ehm had 13 points and two three-pointers, and freshman Ebony Parker scored 10 points.

The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field and knocked down 42 percent from the perimeter. Baker dominated in the paint by outscoring Peru State 40-24. The Baker bench also outscored the Bobcats 29-11.

Saturday

Saturday was going to be a much bigger test for the Wildcats, as they would play the 8-9, 4-4 Missouri Valley Vikings in Marshall, Missouri. The first half was similar to the last three conference games that Baker had played but this time the Wildcats trailed going into the locker room 36-35.

In the first half the scoring started slowly; sophomore Kelsey Larson got Baker going with 7 consecutive points while the Wildcats trailed and Parker followed with 8 of her own for Baker’s first 15 points. Simpson and Wallisch were held scoreless through the first 20 minutes, but Simpson led the team with four rebounds.

Coach Ben Lister’s squad came out hot in the second half, headlined by Simpson scoring 5 in the first five minutes. Baker’s took its biggest lead at 44-36 with 17:33 to play.

Then the game changed back into the Vikings’ hands. Senior DJ Jenkins ran the floor and worked with junior Kieanna Wharton to propel the Vikings in the second half. Wharton finished with a game high 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Jenkins had 15 points with 3 assists.

The second half featured eight lead changes and two ties in a back-and-forth affair. Baker led 66-65 with 40 seconds to play when Wharton scored her 18th and 19th points to put Valley on top by one. Junior Jami Hodge missed a shot around the basket with 15 seconds left that put the Vikings on the free-throw line, up 67-66.

Junior Andressa Augosto made her first free throw and missed the second. The rebound went to Wallisch but the ball slipped out of her hands and out of bounds so Baker was forced to put Augosto back to the line for two. Once again, Augosto made the first and missed the second and Baker had 13 seconds to tie the game.

Baker crossed the time stripe with around eight seconds left and finally Parker mustered a shot at the buzzer to tie but the shot was tipped and fell to the floor.

Ehm led Baker scorers with 14 points but turned the ball over 7 times and the 90 percent free throw shooter was 0-4 at the free throw line. Ericka Simpson finished with 12, senior Rashida Simpson had 7, Larson’s early 7 points stuck the whole duration of the game.

Baker’s weakness was the free-throw line in a miserable 7-20 performance. Baker also went 1-7 from three in the second half.

The Wildcats are back in action for a rematch with the 15-5, 8-1 MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Collins Center. The Pioneers edged the Wildcats 77-68 in Olathe back in the conference opener.

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