Late Run Sinks Wooster as Scots Fall to Baldwin Wallace in Opener of BW Holiday Invitational

Aki Shurelds

Fourteen first-half bench points and lockdown 3-point defense kept The College of Wooster women's basketball team in contention late against Baldwin Wallace University as the Fighting Scots battled to their first lead of the game with 5:20 remaining, but a decisive 14-0 run over the ensuing 3:41 secured the decision for Baldwin Wallace as the Yellow Jackets topped the Scots, 76-61, to remain undefeated on the season and advance to the BW Holiday Invitational championship game against Loras College (Iowa) on Friday, Dec. 30, at 5 p.m.

Wooster (1-10, 0-3 North Coast Athletic Conference) will play La Roche College (6-4, 4-0 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference) in the preceding consolation game on Friday at 1 p.m.

Baldwin Wallace's Hannah Fecht led both squads in points (22) and rebounds (15), while sophomore Anna Gibbs and junior Aki Shurelds led the Scots with 18 points each.

Gibbs went 7-for-19, including 2-for-7 from beyond the arc, to go along with four assists and three rebounds.

Shurelds continued her hot-streak from 3-point range this season, especially in non-conference play, going 4-for-7 from long distance and 5-for-10 overall in 29 minutes off the bench.

Of note, in non-NCAC match-ups, Shurelds is shooting 40 percent (20-for-50) from beyond the arc and is a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line while averaging 12.0 points per game through eight contests.

Wooster first-year Cat Fiorito pulled down a team-best nine rebounds while the Scots' leading rebounder on the year with 6.6 per game - sophomore Christina Vukovich - came down with seven boards to go along with four points.

In the opening period, Baldwin Wallace (10-0, 4-0 Ohio Athletic Conference) jumped out to a 21-14 advantage thanks to a combined shooting effort, as six different Yellow Jackets tallied at least one field goal en route to an 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) performance.

Just as the home side found its groove, Wooster came out in the second stanza with a stifling defensive effort, allowing just eight points on 4-for-18 (22.2 percent) shooting, including 0-for-9 from long-range, while going 5-for-14 for 12 points to close the gap and conclude the half trailing 29-26.

The Scots pulled to within one (28-29) right out of the gate as Fiorito capitalized on her own offensive rebound with a layup in the paint.

Both sides would exchange baskets before a 7-0 Yellow Jackets run brought the spread back to nine (44-35) with 3:17 remaining in the third.

Wooster scraped back, however, capping off the final minute of the third period with a 5-0 run behind a 3-pointer from Gibbs and layup from first-year Akwia Tilton, who came away with eight points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench as the Scots trailed 48-44 entering the fourth period.

Six points from junior Katie Mandych fueled a 13-8 Wooster run that earned the Scots their first lead of the game (57-56) with 5:20 left to play.

That would end up being the only lead for Wooster, however, as the Jackets responded with a 14-0 run to seal the decision.

Two made free throws from both Gibbs and Shurelds marked the only remaining points for the Scots as Baldwin Wallace took the decision, 76-61, to remain unbeaten.