By: Julia Swain
“That’s probably the best team that’s entered this gym in 25 years,” said Cedarville women’s basketball head coach Jason Smith.
Facing Ashland, the number one Division II team in the country, the Lady Yellow Jackets could only anticipate the 107-83 loss that they were handed. Nonetheless, they demonstrated fight and determination throughout the loss.
The Lady Yellow Jackets started off strong, playing what Smith described as “their best first half maybe all year”. Efforts from Senior Paige Garr (14 points, one assist), junior Lydia Sweeney (21 points, one assist, six rebounds, three steals) and junior Anne Wheeler (12 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals), played a major role. This was significant for the Jackets, as they’ve fallen into major holes in the first half over the past couple of games.
Entering the locker room at halftime, the Lady Yellow Jackets trailed by just six points and had the potential to hand the Lady Eagles their first loss of the season. However, the Lady Eagles found their groove and demonstrated pure dominance that the Lady Yellow Jackets could not overcome.
Despite the lopsided final score, Smith was pleased with his team’s efforts.
Key players that helped lead the Lady Eagles to their big win included sophomore Zoe Miller (18 points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals) and graduate student Hallie Heidemann (22 points, three assists, seven rebounds, two steals). However, it was a true team effort, as six players scored in the double digits and their bench outscored Cedarville’s bench 34-11.
Smith and his team were aware of the challenges that they were facing coming into this game and did their best to combat them.
“You know, they are a legitimate number one team in the country and they just keep bringing bodies,” Smith said. “We’re a little under matched size wise, but we hassled them there in the first half. And then we hung with them in the third and they just kept making shots.”
Smith was also able to find positives in his team’s struggles, such as their 95% free throw percentage, which topped the Lady Eagles’ 88.9%.
While trailing almost the entire game, the crowd of 414 brought electric energy and made it hard for the Lady Yellow Jackets to ever fully give up on a comeback even as their deficit grew to an insurmountable number.
The Lady Yellow Jackets will travel to Findlay on Saturday at 1 p.m. for another chance to improve their 7-16 record.
Julia Swain is a freshman journalism student. She likes listening to Taylor Swift, watching sports and playing sand volleyball in her free time.