By Heather Kuch
Despite a loss to Kenyon on Saturday, Jan. 19, the women’s basketball team was able defeat Wooster in the final minutes of the game on Wednesday, Jan. 23, with a score of 76-62.
The Bishops were able to come back from a five-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Wooster Scots in the final minutes of the game. Freshman guard Hanna Fedorka said the win improved the team’s confidence level, and that they plan to learn from this win.
“This game was a good team win for us,” Fedorka said. “The coaches prepared us well, and everyone stepped up when we needed it the most. We were inconsistent in the first half, but the second half we were more aggressive on both ends of the court. We are a very close team and we are really starting to play well.”
The Bishops led the Scots for the majority of the first half, with help from baskets by sophomore guard Sarah McQuade and sophomore wing Caroline Welker. Wooster closed the gap in the final minutes of the first half, bringing the score to 31-27. The Bishops held on to a narrow lead. In the second half, the Bishops were able to pull away and increase their lead to 35-27, but a series of back-to-back baskets from the Scots tied the score at 40-40.
Wooster then pulled away, as the Bishops were unable to stop a Scot guard from scoring several three point shots and pulling five points ahead with eight minutes remaining in the half.
With three minutes to go in the half, the Bishops tied the game back up at 60-60, when Welker was able to knock down a three pointer off an assist from sophomore post Kristin Henning. The Bishops then made a nine point run, putting them ahead for the remainder of the game.
Assistant coach Maggie McCloskey said the team came together when they were down and worked as a whole to pull ahead of the Scots.
“I think we showed our perseverance and players stepped up when they needed to,” McCloskey said. “We hit some big shots down the stretch and had some key defensive stops and we hit our free throws towards the end.”
The Bishops outscored the Scots 16-2 in the final two minutes of the game with points from McQuade, Welker and freshman Emily Julius.
Julius said the team’s second half play was crucial in securing the win. She said they plan to use the win as motivation for their future competition.
“I think that we fought hard in the second half to pull out a win,” Julius said. “My teammates made plays at the right times and Sarah McQuade was absolutely clutch at the free throw line. I think the win will give us confidence going into our upcoming games.”
Freshman post Logan Breehl agreed with Julius and said the game as a whole went well, but they have learned what they need to improve upon.
“There are still many things we need to work on and improve upon as a team,” Breehl said. “We could have come out much stronger in the first half and blew the game open from the beginning.”
Breehl said the team is looking forward to their future games, and she said she thinks they are showing improvement.
“I think in the end by picking up our defense and hitting a few key baskets along the way we managed to pull out the win,” she said. “I think this win helped us continue to get better both offensively and defensively, which we have been working on all season, which will help us be ready for the conference tournament in the coming weeks”
Head coach Stacey Ungashick Reed said the team took advantage of the final minutes of the game and rebounded from the Wooster lead well.
“We took care of the ball in the second half and continued to beat them on the boards,” Ungaschick Reed said. “When Wooster made their run just under the 10 minute mark, we showed resilience and continued finding a way to get stops and scored.”
Ungaschick Reed said the team’s shooting clicked in the last minutes of the game when it was crucial for them to hit their shots.
“Down the stretch, we had a few players make big shots and we were able to capitalize on the strategic move of fouling the last four minutes of the game hitting 10-12 free throws,” Ungaschick Reed said.
McCloskey agreed with Ungashick Reed and said they plan to use the Wooster game as a learning experience to improve for their upcoming games.
“I think we will need to fix some things we did not do well last night and build off of what we did well and take steps forward as a team,” McCloskey said.
Ungashick Reed said they will focus on key areas of their game play to improve, with the ultimate goal of performing well in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) tournament.
“We are focused on taking care of the ball, winning the rebounding battle and executing against each of our upcoming opponents,” Ungashick Reed said.
“We are improving on those areas and will continue to work on them in order to finish the regular season strong and as we prepare for the NCAC tournament beginning Feb. 19.”
The Bishops next game is at home in Branch-Rickey Arena Saturday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. They will once again take on the Oberlin College Yeowomen, whom they defeated on Jan. 4, with a score of 59-53.