Baker takes wins over Missouri Valley
Special to the Signal
The Baker University mens and womens basketball teams picked up important victories at the expense of Missouri Valley College Saturday in Baldwin City.
Sophomore guard Ashley Ohlman kept Missouri Valley at bay in the womens game with sharp free throw shooting at the end of a 76-68 win. In the final two minutes, Ohlman made all six of her free throw attempts as the Vikings tried fouling to erase a 67-56 deficit. Junior guard Courtney Hodges, the Cats top free throw shooter, made three of four and junior point guard Erin Robinson added another as Baker scored its final 10 points on free throws alone.
Ohlman finished with 19 points with nine free throws and two 3-pointers. She attempted only six field goals and made four. Junior center Jessica Pontious tallied 16 points. Junior center Kristen Crites added 14 points, 10 of them during a crucial six-minute stretch in the middle of the second half as Baker went on a 12-1 run to take a 61-52 lead.
The Baker win and a Benedictine loss moved the Cats into a three-way tie for second-place with MidAmerica Nazarene University in the Heart of America Athletic Conference standings.
In the mens game, freshman guard DJ Watkins led a quintet of Wildcats in double figures with 26 points as Baker defeated Valley 82-74.
The win avenged a 93-90 loss to the Vikings Dec. 2 in Marshall, Mo., Baker's first Heart of America Athletic Conference game of the year. Baker's win also snapped a five-game Viking winning streak.
The Wildcats finished both halves strong. A 10-2 run at the end of the first half gave Baker a 32-30 lead. In the final minute of the game, a three-point play by senior center Pedro Dos Santos ended a Viking rally and gave Baker a 79-74 lead. Senior point guard Brandon McDonnell finished the game by making three free throws.
Watkins made five 3-pointers and tied his career-high as 6 News Lawrence taped the game for an upcoming feature on the hometown star, the 6 News Lawrence Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2002.
Junior forward Josh Flett and Dos Santos came off the bench to lead Baker's inside game with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Dos Santos also had a game-high eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
McDonnell and freshman guard Darin Redeker had 10 points apiece and McDonnell had a game-high five assists. Redeker's fourth and final assist was a big momentum boost for the Cats and their crowd. With less than seven minutes remaining, Watkins grabbed a long rebound to spark a three-on-none fast break and passed left to Redeker at the 3-point line. Redeker tossed an underhand lob to the basket which the 5-foot-10 McDonnell grabbed for a two-handed alley-oop dunk and a 64-54 lead.
The upset victory kept the men in a tie for eighth place with Central Methodist College and just one game behind a tie for fifth place. Missouri Valley remained in fourth place.
In Baker's previous games, the women defeated Culver-Stockton College 67-55 in Canton, Mo., on Thursday. Pontious scored 14 points and Robinson added 11. Pontious also had four steals. Senior Amber Koblitz had six points and a team-high six rebounds.
Watkins scored 13 points and freshman forward Marc Roberts added a career-high 12 points in a 72-50 loss to Culver-Stockton. Roberts scored the 12 points in just 10 minutes of play. He made four of six field goal attempts and all four free throws, and also grabbed four rebounds. Dos Santos had nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Wildcats' next game will be versus MidAmerica Nazarene Thursday in Olathe. The womens game is at 5:30 p.m. and the mens game is at 7:30 p.m. Baker will play host to William Jewell College on Saturday at the same times.
Women's head coach Susan Decker tallied her 64th win against Missouri Valley, bringing her within one win of tying Joni Jones for most wins by a Baker women's basketball coach.