Women’s basketball enters break at 9-2 overall

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

After a 90-60 win over the Graceland Yellow Jackets Saturday in Lamoni, Iowa, the women’s basketball team finishes its first semester of basketball at 9-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The Wildcats, who are tied for the second in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, have 21 days in between games with their next action on Jan. 2.

Baker took on a Graceland team that was already struggling even with its best players. To make things even worse three of the team’s four best scorers sat out Saturday’s game, which made things much easier on Baker.

Graceland hit some shots early to keep things close but by the halfway mark of the first quarter Baker had already blown the game open. At the end of the first quarter Baker led 30-14 and was hitting 50 percent from the field, despite missing several open looks around the rim.

Sophomore Sydney Buchel started the afternoon with the hot hand, scoring 11 first half points including 8 in the first quarter. Sixteen Graceland free throw attempts kept the Yellow Jackets in the game throughout the second quarter, but Baker still possessed a commanding 51-29 lead at the break.

Baker hit 10-10 free throws in the first half, but the second half was almost the opposite. The Wildcats shot 7-19 from the free-throw line in the second half and missed their first six to start the half.

Luckily for Baker, those free throws didn’t matter as Baker blazed its way to a 90-60 win. Those 90 points are the most in any game for Baker in the first semester and the most since Dec. 18, 2014, (also the last game for the holiday break) when it took two overtimes for Baker to walk away from Fremont, Nebraska, with a 100-99 win over Midland on a Jami Hodge buzzer beater.

Senior Macy Wallisch scored a season-high 17 points against Graceland and finished one rebound shy of a double-double. Sophomore Caitlin Modesett was scoring 15 points per game coming into Saturday’s contest and lived up to her average with 15 points on 7-10 from the field. Senior Ericka Simpson broke into double digits with 11 points.

Last week’s Heart Player of the Week, senior Jami Hodge, recorded a career-high 8 steals, pushing her to third in the NAIA in steals.

The Wildcats take three weeks off before hosting Southwestern at 2 p.m. on Jan. 2 in the Collins Center.