Home court advantage has taken on a new meaning throughout the 2014-15 season for the John Carroll University women’s basketball team.
The Blue Streaks capped off their regular season dominance with a 71-56 Senior Day win over Muskingum University at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center this past Sunday, Feb. 24. The win gave JCU a perfect 12-0 home record and a 22-3 overall record in the regular season.
The last time the Blue Streaks went undefeated at home was the 1976-77 campaign, when the team won all four of its home games in an abbreviated 12-game season.
Muskingum entered play on Saturday in ninth place with an overall mark of 6-18, 4-13 in the Ohio Athletic Conference record. The Muskies dropped their previous match against JCU, 86-79, back on Jan. 10.
After falling behind early, JCU went on a 5-0 run, thanks to a layup by junior Daniella Rice and a 3-pointer by senior Emily Taylor. The scoring outburst took place after Muskingum held an 8-2 lead, its largest lead on the afternoon.
The Blue Streaks continued to show life toward the eight minute mark of the opening half, as junior Erin Mog drove to the hoop for a pair of layups and Taylor swished a 3-ball from the corner. The duo of Mog and Taylor controlled the JCU backcourt with eight and six points in the opening half, respectively.
As the first half ended, and the pesky Muskingum defensive effort held JCU to a slender 36-29 halftime lead.
Muskingum would not fold easily, coming out of the locker room with energy and efficiency. Alexandra Carson and Taylor Maurer scored a pair of threes for the Muskies to tie the game and force a JCU timeout with 17:36 left to play.
JCU struck back, as senior Beth Switzler made two free throws and sophomore Katlyn Spahar drove to the hoop for a wide open layup to give the Blue Streaks a 56-49 lead with 6:29 remaining. The scoring was part of a 5-0 burst, which played a crucial role in the victory.
The final six minutes were the finishing touches on an undefeated and historic regular season for JCU. Not only did the Blue Streaks hold onto the lead, but they reached their first double digit margin of the game thanks to a Switzler layup with 1:15 left. A transition basket by Spahar followed to give the Blue Streaks a 67-55 lead and another memorable season at home.
The big performances for JCU came from Spahar with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Switzler with 14 points and 20 rebounds, a single-game career-high. JCU outrebounded Muskingum, 57-39, with 22 offensive rebounds on the day.
Sunday marked the final regular season home game for seniors Meghan Weber, Switzler and Taylor. The trio of athletes were honored for their commitment to the JCU women’s basketball program prior to the game.
Editor’s Note: The Blue Streaks return to the court on Thursday night at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center to play in the Semifinal round of the Ohio Athletic Tournament. Head to jcusports.com for a full box score and game recap.