Following a tough 3-point road loss to Walsh, the Hillsdale College women’s basketball team came out of their four-game losing streak with an 11-point win against Tiffin. With only two games left in the regular season, the team will fight for a spot in the tournament.
“We’re taking one game at a time,” head coach Todd Mitmesser said. “At this time of year, it’s win or go home. Each one of these games is pretty much a tournament game for us because if we don’t win, it’s no tournament. We’ve got to do our part and do the best as individuals we can on Thursday and Saturday.”
The loss on Thursday against Walsh made it much harder for the Chargers to make the playoffs. Now, their chances are dependent on the successes and failures of other teams in the league.
The first time Hillsdale played Walsh, the Cavaliers won by 8 at Hillsdale, but the Chargers still went into the game optimistically. Hillsdale led throughout the first three quarters and was up by as much as 8 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
With 7 minutes to go, the Cavs started hitting their shots, outscoring the Chargers 14 – 8 to win the game. Walsh made six 3-point shots, in contrast to just one of 10 from Hillsdale, leading to the 3-point win. Though the Chargers lead the league in blocking 3-point shots and have held teams to just 28 percent according to Mitmesser, they weren’t able to defend the Cavs’ shots.
“We struggled with defense and talking,” freshman center Julia Wacker said. “We were too quiet on the court, so that led to a lot of our defensive problems. They ended up just hitting the shots they needed too, and we did not.”
Hillsdale finished with a higher field goal percentage and more rebounds, but Walsh made the most of points off of turnovers and scored bench points to aid their victory. Additionally, a bench player entered the game and despite little experience, she hit two 3-point shots, which surprised the Chargers and ultimately aiding the Walsh victory.
Despite the loss, several Chargers cranked out impressive stats. Senior guard Morgan Blair scored a season high 19 points and sophomore guard Allie Dewire hit 18 points and snagged 9 rebounds. Junior center Allie Dittmer and sophomore forward Makenna Ott scored 11 and 9 points respectively.
“They had really good motion and they kept screening us, and it just took us a while to learn from our mistakes, and that just cost us the game,” junior forward Jessica De Gree said.
The Tiffin win on Saturday brought the Chargers back above .500, placing them 13 – 12 overall and 7 – 11 in the conference.
Once again, the Chargers struggled with 3-pointers — Ott made Hillsdale’s five, in contrast to 13 made by Tiffin. In the rest of the game, however, the Chargers dominated. Hillsdale shot 53 percent from the field (as opposed to 37 percent by Tiffin) and outrebounded the Dragons by 10. The Chargers also beat Tiffin in points in the paint 42 – 16.
“It was nice to see we battled back from that loss at Walsh. Tiffin shot the ball fairly well — they hit a lot of perimeter jump shots — but we did a really good job offensively attacking them, and we made a few key stops that was able to stretch our lead out to double digits. It was nice to see the team fighting through the comeback that Tiffin made and to come out with a road win,” Mitmesser said.
Led by Ott with 19 points, four other Chargers also scored double digits: Dewire with 14, and Dittmer, Gray, and Wacker each with 10. Dewire almost landed a triple-double, snagging 9 rebounds and 9 assists.
“I think we used a lot of the energy from the [Walsh] loss against the Tiffin team. We had beat them before by 20 so we knew what we were capable of. We didn’t even pull away until the fourth quarter. We had a couple of subs and we went on a run making stops defensively and attacking the basket offensively,” De Gree said.
The Chargers will finish season play this week. Thursday night is senior night at home against Lake Erie, and the final game of the season will be at Ohio Dominican on Saturday.
“I think we’re all really determined to finish out the season well and just excited to show Lake Erie that we can play better than when we played them last time. We’re very excited to finish and get into postseason,” Wacker said.