Most teams strive to pick up momentum in their final games of the season before heading into post-season play.
The John Carroll University women’s basketball team looked for a chance at a fresh start as they opened the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament last night after a difficult home stretch to end the regular season.
Three straight losses to Capital University, Heidelberg University and Ohio Northern University pushed the Blue Streaks down to the sixth seed in the tournament. The team played cross-town rival Baldwin-Wallace College last night in Berea.
The toughest loss of the week came at the hands of the Student Princes from Heidelberg.
The team from Tiffin was after the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament and came out poised to knock off JCU.
A hair-raising finish was the only way this game could have ended.
With five seconds on the clock and JCU trailing by two, junior Lee Jennings went to the free-throw line for a pair.
After nailing both attempts, it took a mere four seconds for Heidelberg’s Jordan Ickes to progress the ball down the court and convert a layup to halt any hopes for a captivating exit for JCU’s four seniors.
Jennings poured in 34 points in the contest to finish off the regular season as the leading scorer in the conference with 22.1 points per game.
John Carroll ended the year as the top scoring team in the conference. However, the Blue Streaks also surrendered the second most points in the league.
This unbalanced production is the primary cause for the team’s 8-10 record in OAC play.
“Inconsistent play has been hurting us since the beginning of the season,” said senior Caitlin Sureck. “Our defense and rebounding needs to change immediately.”
JCU now turns its attention to the Yellow Jackets, who defeated the Blue Streaks by an average of 13 points in their two regular season matchups.
Both teams come in struggling though, as B-W has lost three of their last five and JCU has dropped six of eight.
It is going to be nearly impossible for JCU to make the NCAA tournament without running the table and winning the OAC tournament to obtain the automatic bid.
Their 11-13 overall record does not make them an ideal choice for an at-large selection in the field of 64.
Editor’s Note: For full details of last night’s game between JCU and B-W, log on to www.jcusports.com