Junior Emily Gibson continued her dominance in the post Saturday at Lindenwood University, posting a team-high 17 points and 14 rebounds in a 65-59 win.
Gibson is averaging 14.55 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Wildcats as they have jumped out to a strong 9-2 start in HAAC play, and 13-8 overall, as of Wednesday.
“She’s definitely been a difference in our success this year,” head coach Susan Decker said. “When Aubree (Gustin) and Gibson are playing well together, they’re really hard to stop. They’ve got that one-two punch down low and at the high post, and our high-low stuff that we run is really hard to guard if both of those kids are playing well.”
The Wildcats have been battling turnover problems the past two games, turning the ball over 23 times against Lindenwood and 24 times against Benedictine College on Jan. 28.
“We just have to get more discipline when we have the ball and take care of it because every possession is pretty important,” junior Brittany Hines said.
Gustin was the only other Wildcat to score in double-figures with 11 points, while junior Jenna Brantley chipped in seven points off the bench. Brantley has been coming off the bench for the Lindenwood and Benedictine games after missing the Graceland University and Central Methodist University games due to illness.
Baker shot 39 percent from the field and was nearly perfect from the free-throw line, knocking down 15 of 16 from the charity stripe.
Baker faced Central Methodist for the second time this season Thursday in Collins Center. Results were not available at presstime. Last time the Wildcats faced the Eagles, Baker won 78-72 in overtime.
“We hadn’t had a close game like that the whole season, in overtime yet, so it was good to know we could handle the pressure,” Gibson said.
The Wildcats will then face Evangel University Saturday in Springfield, Mo. The Crusaders are 10-1 in the HAAC and 16-4 overall, and as of Wednesday, they were in first place in the conference and a game ahead of Baker. The Wildcats took the first game against Evangel this season 66-61 on Dec. 1, but the Crusaders were riding an eight-game winning streak heading into Thursday’s contest against Lindenwood.
“Every game I think is really, really critical, obviously, at this point and time,” Decker said. “We’ve got to take care of business on Thursday first. I think Evangel’s playing extremely well right now. For us to have a chance, I think somebody else is going to have to knock them off. It’s going to be a tough stretch in February.”