By Grace Mowrey
The Cedarville Women’s Basketball Team Edges Out the Malone Pioneers 72-69. The Lady Jackets came into the game off a dominant, double-digit win against Lake Erie last Saturday, but they had since dealt with COVID-19 struggles that canceled their game on Thursday, January 13.
“We didn’t really practice as a full team until Saturday morning,” head coach Jason Smith said.
The Lady Jackets showed some rustiness on the offensive side of the ball but found a rhythm as the game progressed. Senior guard Emily Chapman led the team with 21 points, and sophomore guard Lydia Sweeney grabbed 7 rebounds.
Despite several missed shots, Cedarville’s defensive play pushed them to an early 10-4 lead.
Four fouls in the first seven minutes of the game stifled the momentum the Jackets had been building. Malone’s offense started to break through what had been a strong Cedarville defense. The Pioneers took the lead on free throws and kept it to the end of the quarter.
Senior Lexi Moore opened the second quarter with a big three-point play, retaking the lead for the Jackets but immediately picked up her second foul, forcing her to the bench.
Cedarville pushed through their early foul trouble, and Lydia Sweeney sank a three-pointer and drew a foul. She drained the free throw to add to her tally and take the Jackets up 22-17. Chapman added another three-pointer, but a foul from Cedarville again halted their momentum, leaving the Jackets with a 33-27 lead heading into halftime.
Coach Smith specifically praised senior guard Allison Mader for her strong defensive play as she held Malone’s best player “to zero [points] in the first half.”
Chapman started the third with a layup, a steal and another layup to extend Cedarville’s lead. After a third quarter that included seven lead changes, Malone’s Robin Campbell hit a jumper to take a 48-46 Pioneer lead into the final period.
At the beginning of the fourth, Cedarville’s efficient three-point shooting helped them take a four-point lead. The Jackets’ aggressive play led to several fouls, but the Pioneers failed to capitalize on their free throws.
With 24 seconds left in the game, the Pioneers fouled Chapman, and she sank both free throws to bring the lead to four points. With ten seconds left, Malone’s Emma Kallas scored and picked up a shooting foul. She knocked down the free throw to close the gap to just a point.
A pair of free throws by Paige Garr pushed the lead to three and gave Malone one final chance to tie the game.
Chapman blocked Malone’s three-point attempt, effectively clinching Cedarville’s win.
The Lady Jackets have battled injuries throughout the season and struggled through COVID-19 related issues this past week. “The injuries to the starters have created opportunities for the freshman,” Coach Smith said. He pointed out that Sweeney, who ended the game with 6 points in addition to her rebounds, has “stepped up because of those injuries” and added, “I don’t know where we’d be without her contribution.”
The Lady Jackets look to build upon their two-game win streak and will play Tiffin at home with a 5:30 p.m. tip-off on Thursday, January 20.
Grace Mowery is a junior English major and sports writer for Cedars. She loves reading historical novels, watching football and baseball, and going on spontaneous ice cream runs with her friends.