BEREA, Ohio – Five returning starters, along with a deep bench, will aim to fuel the Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team to the pinnacle of the Ohio Athletic Conference in 2019-20.
Entering her 30th season at the helm of the squad is veteran head coach Cheri Harrer, who has compiled an impressive 584-221 career record with BW. She returns 13 letterwinners from last year's roster that posted a 20-8 overall record, 13-5 record within the OAC, and advanced to the OAC Tournament for the sixth consecutive season. Her team also earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament where they advanced to its second round.
"It's been a fun preseason, as the players have been great at responding to each challenge for improvement." Harrer said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but this team is willing to roll up their sleeves and get after it. We have a large group of seniors who have done a great job so far in showing the younger players what it takes to win. Winning happens through a great team culture; knowing and doing all the little things that success requires. This schedule will provide us with plenty of challenges as well. Our record may or may not indicate how good this team really is. If we continue to focus on our core priorities and our players stay true to their character, it will continue to be a lot of fun."
The five returning starters include senior two-time All-OAC guard/forward Hannah Fecht (Hilliard/Davidson), senior two-time All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Riley Schill (Sheffield Lake/Elyria Catholic), senior All-OAC and two-time Academic All-OAC guard Kasey Hughes (Springboro), senior two-time Academic All-OAC guard/forward Kara Marshall (Copley/Akron Archbishop Hoban), and junior forward Sydney Diedrich (Chardon/Gilmour Academy).
Last season, Fecht averaged 11.9 points and 4.8 rebounds through four games and four starts, before sustaining a season-ending injury. Schill earned All-OAC second team and Academic All-OAC selections in 2018-19, averaging 8.4 points, and a career-best 3.3 rebounds. She was also the team-leader in assists per game with 3.6, and steals per game with a career-high 2.0. Hughes claimed an All-OAC honorable mention a season ago, and was the Yellow Jackets' second-leading scorer with a career-high 9.0 points per game, while also grabbing a career-best 2.8 rebounds per game. Marshall earned her second straight Academic All-OAC selection last fall, while achieving career-high averages in points, assists, and steals with 7.3, 1.3, and 0.7, respectively. Diedrich was the team-leader in three pointers made in 2018-19 with 32, and accumulated career-highs in points per game with 6.3, rebounds per game with 5.3, and assists per game with 0.9.
Sophomore guard, All-OAC second team selection, reigning OAC Freshman of the Year, and team-leading scorer (13.4) and rebounder (7.0) Lilly Edwards (Dublin/Coffman) will spearhead BW's crop of returners hoping to augment their impacts this season. Edwards joins five other Yellow Jackets bench players who appeared in 20 or more games last season, which included senior guard Tiffany Bentler (North Canton/Hoover), junior guard Gabby Garrett (Columbus/Bishop Watterson), sophomore guards Megan Hensel (Upper Sandusky) and Sydney Snyder (Kirtland), and sophomore forward Megan Scheibelhut (Avon Lake/Elyria Catholic). Each of them will aim to provide valuable minutes and some reliable depth to the BW lineup. The Yellow Jackets will also seek contributions from returning sophomore guard Emily Lyon (Medina/Highland) and sophomore forward Maighread Laliberte (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) as they vie for playing time as well.
Six new faces will also introduce themselves to the court in 2019-20, as freshman guards Mackenzie Hance (Mogadore/Lake), Regan Schill (Sheffield Village/Elyria Catholic), Morgan Borich (Beverly/Fort Fyre), Shelby Hemminger (Tiffin/Calvert), Izzy Andrews (Ann Arbor, Mich./Rudolf Steiner) and Kelsey George (Centerville) eagerly anticipate their collegiate debuts.
BW opens its 2019-20 campaign on Friday, November 15, when it travels to Rochester, New York to take on Skidmore (N.Y.) College in the annual Chuck Ressler Tournament, hosted by Rochester (N.Y.) University in Louis A. Alexander Palestra at 1:00 p.m. The Yellow Jackets' home opener will take place on Tuesday, November 19 where they will compete against St. Vincent (Pa.) College in Ursprung Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. OAC play will commence on Monday, December 2 when BW hosts Heidelberg University in Ursprung Gymnasium at 7:00 p.m.