by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Lady Jackets (6-1, 3-0 G-MAC) fought off the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans 79-65 on Thursday night. While Cedarville won the game handily, the Lady Jackets failed to dominate against a one-win team.
“We knew it was gonna be scrappy, that’s how Trevecca plays,” head coach Kari Hoffman said after the game. “Give credit to them, we played a little bit too hurried at times.”
Senior forward Abby Wolford continued her impressive campaign with 18 points (3-3 3PT) and five rebounds. Wolford was the fourth different Lady Jacket to lead Cedarville in scoring this season, and said the amount of weapons on this year’s team is what makes it special.
“We have a ton of people contributing this year. I feel like in the previous years, you would always have three people you know would be the leading scorers. This year, seven different people could step up at any time.
Sophomore guard Ashlyn Huffman added 17 points and made all eight of her free throws. Senior guard Baylee Bennett scored 14 points and compiled seven rebounds, a season-high.
Cedarville surrendered 19 turnovers and allowed 13 offensive rebounds, yet they shot 52 percent from the field and 45 percent from deep.
Trevecca scored on its first two possessions which resulted in the first five points of the game, but the Lady Jackets answered with triples on three straight possessions to take a 9-5 lead. The Trojans burned an early timeout with 7:21 left in response to Cedarville’s quick trigger from behind the arc.
Cedarville was sloppy on the defensive end and allowed three offensive rebounds halfway through the quarter, which allowed the Trojans to take advantage of second chances. With 5:12 remaining, Cedarville led by just three even after jumping to a scorching start from the field.
Cedarville was cooled off to close the quarter and handled a 18-14 lead after one period. Bennett scored six points and didn’t miss a shot in the first, and the team shot 67 percent from deep. The Lady Jackets’ defense kept Trevecca below 30 percent from the field and from behind the arc.
The second quarter remained locked in a hotly contested battle, as the Lady Jackets were unable to pull away from the Trojans. With 4:18 on the clock, Chapman used a hesitation dribble to find the basket for a wide open layup to put Cedarville up 29-23, but Trevecca continued to fight.
Cedarville closed the half on an 8-2 run to lead 37-27, but Trevecca banked in a triple at the buzzer to cut the lead back to single digits to go to the locker room.
“Luckily we made shots in the first half, that was huge,” Hoffman said. ”
The Lady Jackets’ hot end to the half gave them some momentum, but the statsheet seemed to point in favor of Cedarville even more. CU shot 55 percent from the field and a remarkable 75 percent from deep. The Lady Jackets were also plus-four on the boards.
Bennett was Cedarville’s clear leader with 14 points, making all four of her attempts from behind the arc, and also grabbing four rebounds. The senior’s scoring would halted fully in the second half, as Bennett was kept off the score sheet in the final 20 minnutes of play.
Cedarville and Trevecca continued to battle in the third, and the Lady Jackets claimed an 11-point lead with 2:42 remaining. However, the Trojans scored six in a row to close the quarter with optimism.
Bennett didn’t score a point in the quarter as Cedarville’s offense faltered at times. Even so, they led 53-46, but the lead didn’t seem to be too safe.
Hoffman continued to look frustrated in the fourth as the Lady Jackets struggled to close out on shooters, gave up offensive rebounds, and looked discombobulated on the offensive end.
Cedarville reached its largest lead in the final frame, going up by 13 with 8:05 left before growing its lead even more in the final minute. The Lady Jackets were successful enough to keep the margin and close out the game.
Hoffman recognized tonight wasn’t the Lady Jackets’ best performance, but said the second half was a better showing in terms of handling the basketball.
“It was a little frustrating,” Hoffman said. “We got a little bit better in those final two quarters and started feeling more comfortable.”
The Lady Jackets’ six-game homestand ends on Saturday when Cedarville welcomes Kentucky Wesleyan to Callan at 1 p.m. The two teams split their series last season, and the Panthers are 3-2 (1-0) G-MAC this year.
Tim Miller is a junior marketing major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, knowing too much about supplemental insurance, and striving to perfect the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.