[Written by Gabriella Kreuz]
John Carroll’s women’s basketball team could not stop the winning streak of the third place team in the Ohio Athletic Conference, the Baldwin-Wallace Yellow Jackets, on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Having won five straight games coming into the contest against JCU, the Yellow Jackets had ferocious momentum right from the start as they won at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center by a final score of 78-58.
Looking to find a rhythm, Blue Streaks sophomore Heidi Mervar contributed with seven points in the first half of action. However, the Blue and Gold struggled as they shot only 35 percent from the field while their opponents from B-W shot 57 percent. This imbalance would prove to be the detrimental difference for JCU as the Blue Streaks trailed 45-24 at halftime.
While the Blue Streaks came out strong in the second half going on a 10-2 run early, their compiled deficit was still too much. Sophomore Missy Spahar put up a good fight, registering 12 points to lead the Blue Streaks in scoring. But Baldwin-Wallace’s offensive leader, sophomore Jessica Lairson, scored a career-high 26 points to secure the Yellow Jackets’ victory.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Blue Streaks traveled to Wilmington, Ohio to take on the Wilmington Quakers in another OAC matchup. Playing on the road is a challenge in itself for teams competing in the difficult and talented OAC. The Blue Streaks arose valiantly to this challenge against Wilmington on Saturday, but barely fell short of taking home the win as the final score was 61-58 in favor of the Quakers.
In the first half, it was evident the Blue and Gold had their minds in the right place and they were ready to compete. JCU made four 3-pointers in a matter of four minutes, two of them coming from sophomore point guard Allie Lustig. The Blue Streaks were driving and dishing out to the three-ball line in response to Wilmington’s strong defense and even ended the half shooting 56 percent from behind the arc on 5 of 9 shooting. Despite the hot shooting from downtown, the Blue Streaks trailed Wilmington by five points at halftime, 31-26.
The second half was a give-and-take series between the Blue Streaks and Quakers, which ended with the Quakers taking over. Despite committing 29 turnovers, Wilmington still managed 12 steals, taking full advantage of those possessions to put transition points on the board.
John Carroll had 20 turnovers and 14 steals on the day, but couldn’t quite close the scoring gap as they failed to utilize their extra opportunities. Spahar had a notable performance, just shy of a triple-double, as she put up 14 points, crashed the boards for a total of 10 rebounds and hustled for eight steals. In the end, it wasn’t enough as the Quakers came away with the win.
With only one remaining game on their schedule, the Blue Streaks (7-15, 4-12 OAC) will now focus their attention to Saturday’s regular season finale at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center for Senior Day as JCU plays host to the Marietta Pioneers at 3 p.m.