by Abigail Hintz
Junior Paige Garr led the Cedarville women’s basketball team to a huge a comeback from a 17-point defecit for a dramatic 88-82 overtime win over the University of Southern Indiana to roundout the Midwest Region Crossover.
Garr had a career-high 25-point performance, followed by senior Emily Chapman with 20 and senior Isabelle Bolender with 19.
Cedarville knew Saturday’s contest was going to be completely different than Friday night’s blowout of Lake Superior State. The Eagles were a much tougher team and also brought a completely different, more aggressive style of play to the Jackets. Cedarville’s offense was struggling to break through Southern Indiana’s high press and gave up 11 turnovers in the first half.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game because they press the whole time, so we knew we had to be tough,” said Bolender.
The Jackets began to find the channels but were unable to find the basket, while the Eagles weren’t missing. Junior Abby Freeman made a big difference when she came on the court towards the end of the first quarter, providing a new feel to the offense and draining the team’s first 3-pointer. The Jackets were down 26-13 at the end of the first but their offense was beginning to come together against a tough Eagles’ defense.
Cedarville’s defense was more effective early in the second quarter but their offense still couldn’t produce. Garr gave the Jackets some serious momentum with 14 points in the second quarter. She had a clutch 3-pointer to make it 30-18 and the Eagles began to seem flustered as the Jackets were winning the quarter.
Garr came up big on the next offensive play with a three-point play to make it 30-21. Sophomore Anne Wheeler and Garr put up back-to-back triples to get within eight, but the Eagles answered with a triple and a basket off the rebound, going back up 42-29. Chapman came up with a big three-point play to put the Jackets within ten followed by a triple by Garr and a stuff from Chapman again. They went into the locker room down just 45-37 and won the quarter 24-19.
The Jackets cut the lead down to just four in the first two and a half minutes of the third quarter after triples from Mader and Bolender. Bolender was quiet in the first half but came out of the locker room and put down six points early.
Despite the momentum, the Jackets were struggling to cut the lead completely. They got within three and stayed there consistently until Chapman came up with a triple that finally pushed them over the edge just before the end of the quarter. The Eagles answered but the Jackets were in it for real, down just 59-58 heading into the fourth quarter.
Garr dropped another triple a minute and a half into the fourth quarter that put the Jackets up 61-59. On the next offensive play, Garr drove to the basket and drew the foul, giving the Jackets another three points and putting them up 64-59.
The rest of the fourth quarter was a mind game. The Eagles took back the lead with one and a half minutes to play 75-74. Moore drew a foul and put down one free throw to tie it at 75 and the Jackets’ defense held up to send the game to overtime.
Overtime was a game of free throws. Cedarville was holding a narrow one-point lead with one minute to play before Garr put down a triple and two free throws to give them a six-point cushion with 30 seconds to play.
“I was really proud of how we fought back, getting it to eight going into halftime, and players just kept hitting big shots,” said Bolender.
“We were just a step slow in the first half, Lexi kind of picks us up in the second half and gives us some momentum,” said Smith. “We fixed the silly turnovers and then we competed a little harder in the second half.”
Cedarville continues their homestand this Wednesday, Nov. 17 when they take on Wayne State University at 5:30 p.m.
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.