Coming off their highest point total of the season, the John Carroll University women’s basketball team hit a roadblock this week as they dropped both of their Ohio Athletic Conference games.
First it was a 74-62 setback at OAC-leading Baldwin-Wallace College, followed by a tough three-point loss to Muskingum College, a team that entered the contest with a conference record of 1-10.
In the B-W game, JCU played evenly with the Yellow Jackets in the first half and went into the locker room down by just a single point.
A quick offensive burst by JCU was thwarted swiftly by B-W as the team that sits atop the OAC standings showed why it’s there.
On the heels of a 24-8 run, the Yellow Jackets opened up a 15-point lead that would prove to be insurmountable.
The final score of 74-62 did not display how close the majority of the game actually was.
Despite solid offensive outputs from junior Lee Jennings and senior Caitlin Sureck, who scored 18 and 16 points, respectively, the Yellow Jackets bench production proved to be the difference as they outscored JCU’s bench 19-5.
“We were playing very inconsistent,” said senior Laura Gruber. “It was two completely different halves.”
The Blue Streaks returned home on Saturday, where they welcomed in a Muskingum team that had been struggling all season.
Clearly the emotional loss at Berea carried over, as the Fighting Muskies were able to pick up their second OAC victory of the season.
JCU could not make a three-point halftime lead standup as Muskingum shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the second half and immediately eliminated the small deficit.
One positive sign from the game was the “never say die” attitude displayed by Coach Maravalli’s team as they managed to go on an 8-0 run in the last two minutes to draw within two points of the Muskies.
After Muskingum split a pair from the free throw line to grow their lead to three, the Blue Streaks had a chance to tie it on the game’s final possession. Unfortunately for JCU, a missed three-pointer as time expired ended the valiant comeback effort.
Jennings was in top form again as she added a career-high 35 points to go along with 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
With the back-to-back losses, JCU drops to sixth place in the conference with six games remaining in OAC play.
“We need to pick up our defense and rebounding,” Gruber said. “Those two things have been losing us games from day one and it’s time for that to change.”
This Saturday, JCU will go on the road to battle Wilmington College, a team that, as of Feb. 2, was tied with the Blue Streaks with a 6-6 record in OAC play. JCU narrowly edged out the Quakers, 59-58, back on Dec. 12, and a win Saturday would give them the tiebreaker over Wilmington when it comes.
Editor’s Note: Details from last night’s game against Mount Union were not available for this edition.