The Baker Orange

Women’s basketball suffers first loss

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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On one of Baker athletics’ most historic days with three NAIA playoff home victories, the No. 23 women’s basketball team lost its first game of the season. The Wildcats fell 69-66 to the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers on Saturday in the Collins Center and failed to snap a three-game losing streak to MNU.

It was one of five home games Saturday on the Baker campus. The others were in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s basketball and football.

The Wildcats had three chances down the stretch to either tie or win the game. The first was in a 66-66 tie and less than a minute to play when sophomore Caitlin Modesett missed a floater in the lane and MNU grabbed the rebound and took a timeout.

Out of the timeout MNU didn’t put the ball into the hands of its best player Megan Balcom but instead gave it to Jasmine Webb, who drove into the lane and knocked down a layup to put MNU up 68-66 with 21 seconds to play.

After a Baker timeout Modesett ended up with the ball in her hands again, this time making a three-point attempt to take the lead. After Modesett’s shot rimmed out, MNU grabbed the rebound and then had a chance to finish Baker at the free-throw line, with its best player shooting. Balcom, an 82 percent free throw shooter last season, missed the first and made the second with four seconds left to make it a 69-66 MNU lead.

After a timeout the Wildcats had four seconds to go down the floor to hit a three for the win. The ball was inbounded to senior Ericka Simpson, who was able to get across half court and fired before the buzzer, but the shot hit the bottom of the backboard and the Wildcats suffered a loss for the first time in 2015-16.

The key to Baker’s three-point loss was 27 turnovers. This was the first time Baker turned the ball over 27 times since March 1, 2014, against Missouri Valley in Marshall, Missouri. Baker still won that game 62-50 and clinched the conference’s regular season title because MVC shot 26 percent from the field and 10 percent from downtown. MidAmerica, on the other hand, shot 39 percent from the field and 25 percent from three to beat Baker.

Modesett was the leading scorer for both teams with 19 points and five three-pointers. Senior Jami Hodge scored in double digits for the fifth time in six games with 18 points. Baker’s starting five accounted for 19 of the team’s 27 turnovers.

Junior Kenzie Cook scored 8 points off the bench after scoring 9 off the bench against Avila on Wednesday.

Now the Wildcats sit at 1-1 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play and 5-1 overall. This week Baker takes on 8-1 Haskell on Tuesday in Lawrence, a team that beat the Wildcats 79-70 in Baldwin City last season.

After Tuesday’s game the Wildcats hosts Columbia College at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Collins Center.

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