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Women’s basketball remains first in conference standings

Junior+Sydnie+Hanson+goes+up+for+a+shot+against+Culver-Stockton+on+Feb.+2.+Baker+defeated+CSC+73-47.+Image+by+Alex+Fortuna.
Junior Sydnie Hanson goes up for a shot against Culver-Stockton on Feb. 2. Baker defeated CSC 73-47. Image by Alex Fortuna.

Junior Sydnie Hanson goes up for a shot against Culver-Stockton on Feb. 2. Baker defeated CSC 73-47. Image by Alex Fortuna.

Junior Sydnie Hanson goes up for a shot against Culver-Stockton on Feb. 2. Baker defeated CSC 73-47. Image by Alex Fortuna.

Story by Chad Mullen, Writer

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The Baker women’s basketball team is now riding a seven-game winning streak after defeating Culver-Stockton College 73-47 on Thursday and Mount Mercy University 79-60 on Saturday.

Kelsey Larson did not have her typical scoring game on Thursday with just nine points, but led the Wildcats with five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Jessica Zweifel hit a season-high 19 points, leading the Wildcats stellar shooting effort. She went 6-8 from the field, including 5-5 behind the 3-point line.

The rout started early, as Baker raced out to a 15-4 lead midway through the first quarter. By halftime the lead had stretched to 40-21, as BU held Culver-Stockton to just 9-25 shooting in the first half.

The Wildcats shot 58.3 percent from the field on the game, and 10-18 on 3-pointers. The Baker lead ballooned to as high as 31 points in the fourth quarter, before finally taking the game to a final of 73-47.

The Wildcats never trailed against Culver-Stockton, as was the case on Saturday against Mount Mercy. Sydnie Hanson was the high scorer for the Wildcats on Saturday with 18, one of four Wildcats in double figures. Zweifel followed her 19-point effort Thursday with 11 against the Mustangs.

The Wildcats took plenty of shots from deep, but with limited success, hitting just nine 3-pointers out of 33 attempts. Hanson was the most successful from deep, going 4-9.

The story of Saturday’s game for the Wildcats was their dominance on the boards. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Mustangs 45-30, 15 of those coming on the offensive glass. Hanson was the catalyst for the Wildcats with five offensive rebounds of her own.<br/>

The Wildcats were also able to cut down on turnovers after giving up 21 on Thursday with a six-turnover performance against the Mustangs. With 49 points, the Wildcats had one of their best first-halves of the season, leading by as many as 23 points in the second quarter.

Courtney Hoag had three blocks in just 14 minutes of action Saturday. Hoag bolstered the Wildcat defense over the two-game stretch with five total blocks.

Sydney Buchel, the nation’s seventh-leading shot blocker added two of her own on Saturday, along with 13 points despite getting into foul trouble.

The defense finished the game holding Mount Mercy to 40 percent shooting, the seventh straight game the Wildcats have held their opponents to 40 percent from the field or lower.

Mackenzie Cook had a pair of solid performances, scoring in double figures in both games. Her best all-around game came Saturday, as she had 11 points, adding six rebounds and four assists.

Baker currently is tied with Benedictine College for the best conference record at 18-2, but the Wildcats have the better overall record of 20-4 to remain in first place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Standings.

Their next game will be at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday against Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. The Crusaders are 10-13 on the season.

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