The Cedarville Lady Jackets picked up a pivotal conference win over the Davis & Elkins Senators on Thursday evening, 80-73. Four Cedarville starters scored in double figures, including two with at least 20 points.
Breanne Watterworth was the Lady Jackets’ leading scorer with 21 points. Regina Hochstetler scored 20 points.
Baylee Bennett scored 16 points and added seven assists. Bennett said the win was huge as the team enters the final month of the regular season.
“This is a very important game,” Bennett said. “This will help us move forward and get ready for Ursuline and Malone next week.”
Kaitlyn Holm dropped 13 points and pulled in six rebounds. Emily Williams reached double figures through rebounds with 10.
For the first five minutes of the game, both teams traded buckets and neither could obtain a sizable lead. The game began to open up as the first quarter waned, and Cedarville began to hit shots at an impressive rate.
When Davis & Elkins tried to surprise the Lady Jackets with a full-court press, Cedarville took advantage. Quick, crisp passing led to a Watterworth layin, and Cedarville took its largest lead of the game. With 1:03 left, the Lady Jackets led 25-16.
The second quarter was filled with basket trading, and Davis & Elkins slowly crawled back into the game.
With 2:28 left in the quarter, the Senators converted a free throw after being fouled to tie the game at 36.
Davis & Elkins continued to put pressure on Cedarville, and took a slim 40-39 lead into the half.
The third quarter came and went and neither team proved to have a clear advantage. Davis & Elkins maintained its lead for nearly the entire quarter, but never led by more than five.
With 1:22 left in the quarter, the Lady Jackets took their first lead since the 2:29 mark in the second quarter. Bennett nailed a huge 3-pointer that gave Cedarville a 54-53 lead.
Davis & Elkins continued to own a slight lead for the first half of the fourth quarter. The Senators took a four-point lead with 6:43 left and had a chance to gain a huge momentum swing.
Two consecutive 3-pointers by Cedarville squashed any chances of the Senators putting the game away. Cedarville took the lead back with 5:20 left in the final quarter.
Cedarville kept a small lead as time dwindled, and a huge steal by Hochstetler gave the Lady Jackets an opportunity to take a two-possession lead.
Cedarville took advantage, as Watterworth hit a clutch post shot with 2:28 left. Watterworth was fouled on the play, and made her free throw to give the Lady Jackets a 72-68 lead.
The wind was blown out of Davis & Elkins’ sails with 1:10 left. Cedarville soaked up the entire shot clock, only to let Bennett splash another 3-pointer. The Lady Jackets took a 75-70 lead, and the biggest momentum swing of the game came with the lead.
Davis & Elkins was unable to get back in the game from there. Cedarville drained four of its five free throw attempts with under a minute remaining to ice the game.
Head coach Kari Hoffman said the team’s second half defense helped give the Lady Jackets the edge they needed.
“When we went into a 2-3 zone in the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter, that helped us,” Hoffman said. “Playing our zone has been huge for us.”
The Lady Jackets (13-8, 5-3 G-MAC) get just one day off before they welcome Alderson Broaddus (8-13, 3-5 G-MAC) to the Callan Athletic Center. Cedarville won the first meeting of the year on Jan. 12, 81-71.
Tim Miller is a freshman journalism student at Cedarville University. Tim loves anything that has to do with sports, and hopes to write about sports for a career after graduating from Cedarville.