With the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament quickly approaching, the John Carroll University women’s basketball team appears to have the pieces of the puzzle coming together to compete for a conference championship.
On Feb. 10, school history was made in the Blue Streaks 69-66 victory over the Otterbein College Cardinals inside the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center.
Junior Lee Jennings poured in 39 points, which was a career-high for the guard, but also set a new school record for most points in a single game in the history of Blue Streaks women’s basketball.
It didn’t hurt that senior forward Caitlin Sureck continued her dominant ways in the paint by posting a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Sureck, who is the current school record holder for blocks in a career, added three more to her total against the Cardinals.
Saturday was another crucial game as the team headed south to Columbus to take on the first-place team in their conference, the Crusaders of Capital University.
Unfortunately, things did not go the Blue Streaks’ way that afternoon as they fell to the league’s best team by 10 points, 70-60.
Again, the team was led by Jennings with 22 points.
Sureck was still a factor in the paint, recording another double-double day with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Whitney Hamilton also got into double-digits in scoring with 10 points, while junior center Katie Knox made her presence felt on the glass, grabbing 10 rebounds.
As the Blue Streaks close out the regular season this Saturday, they know how precious each win can be.
“Going into the last [game] we are definitely ready to go,” said Sureck. “We have had some highs and lows this season but we have had some great games against the top teams in the conference.”
Games like the one against Capital are a good litmus test for Coach Kristie Maravalli’s team.
“We have proved that we can compete with every single team in the OAC and we absolutely have what it takes to compete in the tournament,” Sureck said. “This team is special and we have all the pieces this year to go very far.”
Sureck isn’t the only one on the team that truly believes they have what it takes to make a run in the conference tournament, which will begin on Wednesday night.
“Despite some tough losses I have complete faith that our team can make a run in the OAC tournament,” said senior Kate Mahoney. “We definitely have the talent to bring home the first JCU women’s basketball OAC Championship.”
At time of print, the Blue Streaks were 8-8 in OAC play, which has them sixth in the standings.
They will end the regular season on Saturday when they take on Ohio Northern University, a team that is tied with Wilmington College for fourth place at 9-7.
The top four teams get a home game in the first round of the conference tournament.