Ehm scores 1,000th point; women win two

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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The women’s basketball team won games against both Benedictine College, 63-57, and Culver-Stockton College, 61-47, to move into a tie for third place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. The Wildcats now sit at 16-8 overall and 9-5 in conference play with four more games before the tournament.

Coming into Saturday, senior Kyrstie Ehm had 995 career points. With her fifth point of the game, Ehm became the 10th player in Baker women’s basketball history to get to 1,000 points.

“I’m very proud of Kyrstie,” head coach Ben Lister said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the hard work she has put in. She’s been a joy to coach.”

But before the game versus CSC, Baker started the week off right with a win at Benedictine on Thursday night. The Wildcats redeemed themselves from a 77-73 home loss on Jan. 8 to the Ravens. BC entered Thursday’s game tied for first in the conference, but Baker wasn’t fazed going on the road and overcame a 13-4 deficit in the early minutes to go into the half behind only 27-25.

Baker got the spark going in the second half on five straight possessions: with Baker trailing 45-44 with 7 minutes left, freshman Caitlin Modesett stepped up and hit a three as the shot clock was expiring to put Baker up by two. Then Ehm hit a three, followed by another shot-clock beating runner from sophomore Kelsey Larson. But Larson wasn’t done yet.

Wallisch kicked out to her at the three-point line with Baker leading by 6 and Larson buried it. She then stole the ball on the defensive end and finished at the other end with a coast-to-coast layup.

Larson scored 11 points in the game, including the 7 in this run and Baker went from trailing to leading by 11. Baker was 0-10 from deep before the bombardment of the bottom of the basket that gave Baker the momentum to roll through the Ravens on the road. The Wildcats would not let the Ravens back into the game and won their biggest game of the season.

“(Larson) shows flashes of just having the ability to take over games in stretches,” Lister said. “She’s physically tough, she knows how to get to the rim, she can shoot the three, she can guard, she can rebound, she’s a good passer.”

Ehm finished the night with 13 points, and 11 of those coming in the second half. Modesett and juniors Jami Hodge and Macy Wallisch finished with 7 apiece. Senior Angel Woods and junior Ericka Simpson both had 6.

Baker then hosted the Culver-Stockton College Wildcats on Saturday in what would be Baker’s next biggest game. These two teams met on Jan. 10 when Culver escaped with a 57-55 win over Baker.

Baker started off with Wallisch taking over the game early; Wallisch scored the team’s first 6 points and was far from being done.

With just over four minutes to go in the first half, Ehm had 2 points, just 3 from 1,000. Ehm drove from the left side, drew contact, and hit the basket. Ehm had one free throw to reach 1,000 points and the senior from Towanda sank it. Ehm received a standing ovation from the Collins Center crowd. She finished with 9 points.

“I knew she was the kind of kid that could be a difference maker at this level,” Lister said. “She’s so hard to guard and she can score in such a variety of ways.”

After that moment the game belonged to Baker and Macy Wallisch. Wallisch dominated in the post and posed as an impenetrable force down low on defense. Wallisch recorded a season-high 8 blocks. At halftime Baker led 26-20 and held Culver-Stockton to a season low for first-half points.

“She took a lot of efficient shots tonight and she was more aggressive going to the rim,” Lister said. “I think she has played really well over the last couple of weeks all around.”

The block party continued for Wallisch, but now she was starting to accumulate points. With 12:16 to play in the game Baker was inbounding the ball with two seconds on the shot clock. Wallisch was the last person open to pass to after the play broke apart. Ericka Simpson inbounded her the ball and Wallisch was forced to shoot a three, something she had only done two other times in her career. Wallisch’s high arching shot hit the bottom of the net for a perfect swish. Baker led 41-30 and never looked back.

“She shoots threes every day in practice in our drills with the rest of the kids so she stepped up with confidence and knocked it down,” Lister said. “That was a momentum killer for them and a momentum gainer for us.”

The Wildcats won 61-47 and survived their toughest week of the season.

Ehm finished with 9 points on 3-7 from the field. Modesett knocked down two trifectas and one more floater to give her 8 points. Larson and Ericka Simpson both had 6 points and combined for 5 assists. Hodge and senior Angel Woods both scored 4.

This week Baker plays a 5:30 p.m. game at Avila on Thursday and a 2 p.m. home match against Evangel on Saturday. Baker won both meetings in January against these teams and looks to keep a four-game winning streak rolling into the final four games of the conference season.