Winter winds have begun to blow in University Heights and basketball is now in full swing. Off to a perfect start, the John Carroll University women’s basketball team traveled to Ohio
Northern University to take on the defending Ohio Athletic Conference champions on Saturday afternoon. Taking on the Polar Bears, the Blue and Gold left Ada, Ohio with a double-digit win and a 5-0 overall record.
The win propelled JCU to No. 24 in the D3Hoops.com poll, the program’s first ever top-25 ranking.
“Beating ONU just showed us what we are capable of doing this season,” senior Missy Spahar said. “I think we can do great things.”
Three Blue Streaks topped the scoring charts with double-digit efforts in the 73-58 win over the Polar Bears, who went 18-0 last season in conference play. Spahar led the way with a double-double, grabbing 12 rebounds and adding 26 points for the Blue and Gold. Senior guard Allie Lustig tabbed 15 points and three of the team’s 10 steals.
The game started with back-and-forth action. Spahar and ONU senior forward Cenie Yoder led the way with 10 points apiece going into halftime, and the Blue and Gold led 33-26 going into the locker room.
The second half surge was the difference maker for the Blue Streaks. Lustig and junior guard Emily Taylor supplied six points apiece in the second half, and the Blue Streaks never gave up the lead. Fending off a quick second-half start from the Polar Bears, the Blue and Gold went on a 11-0 run and put the game away.
It was smooth sailing from there for JCU. Scoring 23 points off turnovers and 24 points in the paint, eight coming off second chances, the Blue Streaks cruised to a 73-58 victory to improve to 5-0 and 2-0 in conference play.
Spahar continued her hot streak with her fourth double-double of the year. The senior forward is now tied for fourth in the country in points per game (26.0).
But defense has been just as important, as head coach Kelly Morrone said.
“[We] have committed to applying defensive pressure in each possession,” Morrone said. “The light has gone on. Defense equals offense for us.”