by Abigail Hintz
Cedarville University women’s basketball lost their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday night with an 85-83 loss to Wayne State University in overtime. Both Wayne State and Cedarville came into the contest having won their first two games of the season, and the game reflected that with 20 lead changes.
A big second quarter from junior Paige Garr and third quarter from senior Emily Chapman kept the Jackets in the game to be able to push it to overtime. But game-ending injuries for junior Makenna Fee and sophomore Anne Wheeler put a hurdle in the increasing offensive production that the Jackets just couldn’t get all the way around.
Chapman led the Jackets with 20 points, 12 of which were in the third quarter. Garr came up with 18, 11 in the second quarter. Fee and Wheeler both had 13 points before their injuries early in the fourth quarter. Senior Isabelle Bolender was quiet in scoring, but came up with seven rebounds, followed by Fee with six and senior Lexi Moore with five. Cedarville shot 26-67 from the field and 14-29 from behind the arc. They put up an impressive 17-19 in free throw shooting.
The Jackets struggled to get in a groove in the first quarter and lost an early five-point lead, down 8-7 with three and a half minutes to play. Chapman had a big three-point play to get the lead back, but the Jackets weren’t rebounding or making shots and were up just 15-14 at the end of the first quarter. There were ten fouls called in the first quarter, six on Cedarville and four on the Warriors.
“A lot of emotions going on right now with my team,” said head coach Jason Smith. “Tough loss, but our girls fought hard through some adversity.”
The Warriors went on a quick four-point run in the first minute of the second quarter and the Jackets seemed dejected. Garr got on the board and gave Cedarville some momentum with back-to-back triples from deep that put the Jackets up 23-20. Garr ended up going on an 11-point run to give the Jackets some life, but they weren’t holding the lead longer than a minute each time.
Cedarville had 12 turnovers by the end of the second quarter. Makenna Fee made a big difference in the first half as well with 10 points and five rebounds. Wayne State had silenced Bolender completely and held Chapman to just eight points in the first half.
By the end of the half, the Jackets were getting back to their 3-point ways. They ended the half 7-17 from behind the arc.
Cedarville managed to hold the lead for the entire third quarter. The Warriors tied it at 45 with three minutes to play but Chapman held them off with back-to-back triples to put the Jackets up by six. She ended up dropping 12 points in the third quarter to bring her total to 20 and keep the Jackets ahead.
With eight minutes to play Fee suffered an apparent knee injury and was taken to the locker room. Wheeler went down with a similar injury just minutes later, and the Jackets were forced to hold a marginal lead with two players down. The Warriors took over with four and a half minutes to play at 65-63 but Lexi Moore answered and tied it up.
“If [Fee and Wheeler] stayed in the game I like our chances,” said Smith.
The rest of the fourth quarter was a battle. Moore came in clutch with a free throw to push the Jackets to 74-73, just as she had to push them to overtime in last Saturday’s win. Allison Mader ended up with the bucket that would make the difference and keep the Jackets in it to take it to overtime.
The Jackets went down by five points in the first three minutes of overtime. Bolender hit a clutch 3-pointer to put Cedarville within three at 84-81 with a little over one minute to play, but the Jackets just couldn’t get all the way there and fell 85-83.
Cedarville will look to get back in the winning groove Saturday when they take on the University of Indianapolis at home at 1 p.m. The contest will be their last non-conference for the rest of the season.
Abigail Hintz is a senior Journalism major and the Editor-in-chief and Sports Editor for Cedars. She loves reading, playing Spikeball with her friends and watching soccer 24/7.