By Tim Miller
The Cedarville Lady Jackets (23-5, 18-4 G-MAC) finished their regular season with a dismantling of the Alderson Broaddus Battlers on Saturday afternoon, winning 69-34. With the win, the Lady Jackets clinched the G-MAC regular season title and will host the G-MAC Tournament which starts on Thursday.
Junior guard Baylee Bennett led all scorers with 17 points. Senior forward Breanne Watterworth added 13 points and eight rebounds. Senior forward Taylor Buckley, who earned her first start of the year on Senior Day, recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was a big win,” Buckley said. “We were really looking forward to it being senior night and all, especially when it determines whether or not we host the conference [tournament].”
The senior class (Taylor Buckley, Kaitlyn Holm, Breanne Watterworth and Emily Williams) combined for 34 points, 26 rebounds, and five assists in the game.
“This senior class has been such a staple in our program,” head coach Kari Hoffman said. “For four years they’ve played a ton of minutes and done everything their coaching staffs have asked them to do. They’ve each grown in their own ways not only on the floor, but off the floor as well.”
Neither team could get the cover off the basket to open the game, as just three points were scored in the first four minutes. Bennett was the lone player to score, hitting a triple just a minute in. With 6:00 left, senior guard Kaitlyn Holm rattled in a shot from deep to put Cedarville up 6-0.
The Lady Jackets burst to a 13-3 lead after scoring seven points in less than a minute, with Bennett scoring five. With 3:34 remaining, Alderson Broaddus called a timeout to stop the potent Lady Jacket offense.
Cedarville closed the quarter with a 19-8 lead. Bennett scored eight points and was 3-3 from the field. Holm added six points and three rebounds and freshman guard Ashlyn Huffman had five points to account for the rest of the Cedarville scoring while giving out three assists.
The Lady Jackets again started the quarter slowly, with just two points in the first four minutes. Luckily for Cedarville, its defense kept the Battlers to just two points in that span, allowing Cedarville to still hold a comfortable 11 point lead with 6:10 on the clock.
Cedarville scored nine points in just 90 seconds late in the second quarter to go up 30-12. After Bennett’s third triple of the game, the Battlers called a timeout with 1:42 remaining.
At halftime, the Lady Jackets led 32-16. Bennett had 13 points on 4-5 shooting in the half. Only three other players scored for Cedarville, as Huffman had seven, and Watterworth and Holm each had six. Watterworth, Buckley and Holm were strong on the boards, with six, four, and four rebounds respectively. Huffman was on pace to reach a career-high in assists with six after 20 minutes and finished with nine, setting her career-high.
Cedarville was hot from deep and shot 55 percent from behind the 3-point line in the first half. On the other hand, Alderson Broaddus made just 11 percent of its attempts from behind the arc.
The Lady Jackets’ offense followed suit in the third with stagnant play in the first four minutes. In 30 seconds, Huffman made a layup and Holm followed with a 3-pointer to give Cedarville its first 20-point lead. With 4:53 left, the Lady Jackets led 38-18.
Cedarville closed the half on an 18-6 run and led 51-24 after three frames. Buckley scored 10 points in the quarter and pulled down four rebounds.
The Lady Jackets had no problems with the Battlers in the final period and filtered in reserves as the quarter started. Of note in the fourth quarter, Watterworth clowned around and swished a triple with 5:41 left. Not known for her craftsmanship behind the arc, the 6-3 senior finishes the regular season a respectable 1-6 from deep.
Cedarville will play Lake Erie (13-15, 9-13 G-MAC) on Thursday in its first game of the conference tournament. Cedarville has fought off the Storm twice this year, winning 71-60 at Lake Erie and 75-70 at the Callan Athletic Center.
Hoffman said the comfort of spending next weekend at home will give the Lady Jackets an edge during the tournament.
“It’s much easier sleeping in your own bed, eating the normal food you eat, and not having to pack a bag and play in someone else’s gym,” Hoffman said. “For us to be able to do that is huge. It’s gonna be a crazy 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.