by Tim Miller
Winners of four straight, the Cedarville Lady Jackets will be tested against Ohio Dominican on Thursday night.
Cedarville (14-3, 10-1 G-MAC) is undefeated on its home court this season, winning all eight of its contests at Callan. While the Lady Jackets swept the Panthers last season, Cedarville only won by a combined seven points.
The Panthers (10-7, 7-4 G-MAC) enter the game in fifth place in a competitive conference landscape and have won four of their last five. While Ohio Dominican doesn’t have the most threatening resume, senior forward Abby Wolford warned how difficult this game may be.
“ODU is a really aggressive, fast-paced team,” Wolford said. “I feel like their record doesn’t show how scary they can be. This is a game that has been circled on our schedule for a while.”
Ohio Dominican makes its money from behind the arc as the third best 3-point shooting team in the G-MAC, and shot 73 percent from deep in a win over Northwood on Nov. 20.
Head coach Kari Hoffman called the Panthers dangerous, and said their versatility makes them a tough team to guard.
“They have scoring,” Hoffman said. “When you can’t just stop one or two players, it just makes it hard. You’ve got to be sound defensively.”
The Lady Jackets may once again lean on Wolford, whose play earned her G-MAC Player of the Week on Jan. 21 for the second time this season. Wolford has scored in double figures in seven of her past eight games, and says she’s continuing to shake off the rust after missing the past two seasons.
“I’m feeling more and more like my old self,” Wolford said. “It’s helpful that I’ve been shooting well because people have to close out on me and I can drive to the basket.”
Cedarville’s leading scorer, senior guard Baylee Bennett, is the No. 2 3-point shooter in the entire nation, nailing deep shots to the tune of 53 percent. As Cedarville controls its own destiny in the G-MAC, Bennett said the Lady Jackets must continue to play their game in order to come out of Thursday with a win.
“We just need to be us,” Bennett said. “We can’t worry about things that are ahead and just stay in the moment.”
Wolford gave her pitch for support from members of campus, citing the overabundance of talent on this year’s roster.
“We have so many shooters on our team that it’s hard to defend us,” Wolford said. “We believe we’re a really fun team to watch and we would love to see support from the students and faculty.”
Tipoff is at 5:30 in the Callan Athletic Center as the Lady Jackets look to pass a test to stay atop the G-MAC.
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.