By Tim Miller
The normally hot-shooting Cedarville Lady Jackets were clamped down on in a loss to the Findlay Oilers on Tuesday night, 73-65. The Lady Jackets (19-5, 14-4 G-MAC) fell out of having a share of first place in the conference with Ursuline after the loss.
The Lady Jackets, who own the No. 2 scoring offense in the G-MAC, scored their third least amount of points this season. Cedarville, the No. 1 3-point shooting team in the nation, made just 28 percent of their attempts from deep.
Senior forward Breanne Watterworth chipped in 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for the Lady Jackets.
Freshman guard Ashlyn Huffman managed 14 points on 6-10 shooting. Leading active scorer and junior guard Baylee Bennett played uncharacteristically after getting off to a slow start, finishing with 14 points on 4-11 shooting from behind the 3-point line.
Junior guard Kelly Poole broke out for 13 points, making six of her nine shots from the field.
Findlay sparked to a 12-4 lead four minutes into the game. The Oilers converted 71 percent of their shots in the first five minutes, while Cedarville shot 38 percent and missed all of its four 3-point attempts.
Bennett failed on her first four attempts from the field and didn’t get on the board until the 2:18 mark in the first quarter.
Bennett’s triple spurred Cedarville to a 7-0 run to close the quarter. Findlay was kept off the scoreboard for the final four minutes of the first frame, which allowed the Lady Jackets to get back in the game.
Findlay owned a 16-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Watterworth led the Lady Jackets with six points and four rebounds. The Lady Jackets misfired on seven of their eight attempts from behind the arc in the quarter.
Findlay got back to its hot shooting to start the second and leaped to a 25-16 advantage with 6:45 remaining. The Lady Jackets called a timeout after another made triple by Findlay.
Bennett splashed a triple with just over two minutes remaining, but Findlay answered right back with a 3-pointer of its own. Poole retaliated with a triple herself to bring Cedarville back within 10.
Findlay enjoyed a relatively easy first half and took a 41-29 lead into the locker room. Watterworth scored 10 points and came down with seven rebounds. Bennett added six points on 2-7 shooting.
The Lady Jackets’ woes from deep continued as they fired in just three of their 13 (23 percent) attempted shots from behind the arc. Cedarville was sloppy in the first half, committing 10 turnovers.
Cedarville scored seven straight points quickly to bring the game within seven after a Findlay timeout with six minutes left in the third quarter. After Poole scored on a second chance, the Lady Jackets trailed 49-42.
After Cedarville called a timeout, Huffman nailed a triple from the left wing to bring the Lady Jackets within four with four minutes left. Poole followed with a layup to make the score 49-47.
With 1:57 on the clock, senior guard Kaitlyn Holm picked up her fourth foul on an offensive charge. The already thin Lady Jackets’ bench became even less deep with the loss of Holm for much of the fourth quarter.
Cedarville closed the gap in the third quarter, but still trailed 52-47 going into the final period. Watterworth had 12 points through three quarters while Bennett added 11.
Cedarville’s 2-3 zone continued to lose track of Findlay’s players, paving way for open shots and open gaps for the Oilers to find. After Findlay dumped it off for another easy basket, Cedarville called a timeout. The Lady Jackets trailed 57-47 with 8:10 left.
Findlay kept a tight grip on the lead for the final quarter and didn’t allow the Lady Jackets to cut the game to one possession.
G-MAC scheduling will continue to be cruel to Cedarville as the Lady Jackets get just one day off before hosting G-MAC leader Ursuline on Thursday evening. Cedarville toppled Ursuline 66-63 on Jan. 20 and will need to win on Thursday in order to stay in the running for the No. 1 seed in the G-MAC Tournament.
Tim Miller is a sophomore marketing major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffee and striving to be the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.