Raiders defense sparks home win

FAIRBORN — Look up the phrase “momentum shift” online and it will say “see the Wright State women’s basketball home opener.”

OK, maybe not. But one stretch in Tuesday’s game was emblematic of that oft-used sports phrase.

After giving up 18 points on 53.8 percent shooting in the first quarter against Mount Vernon Nazarene Tuesday, the Raiders clamped down in the second 10 minutes and went on a quick 16-0 run to seize control of the game and win 88-64 at the Nutter Center.

Trailing by three after one quarter, WSU (1-2) held MVNU scoreless until Peyton Davis made a pair of free throws with 3:27 left in the half and limited the Cougars to just 3 0f 20 shooting (20 percent) while making 77 percent of their own shots.

“It was hard to stop them,” WSU coach Kari Hoffman said. “It was a grind. (But) when we got hot, they got cold.”

Credit the defense for a lot it. The Cougars (5-1) had nine first-half turnovers, six in the second quarter, and finished with 16 leading to 21 WSU points.

“Turnovers were a huge part of our game plan,” Hoffman said. “We needed stops and we needed consecutive stops.”

After giving up 99 in a loss at Michigan State Sunday, that defensive effort was a welcomed sight.

“We looked more like ourselves,” Hoffman said. “We wanted to put a lot of pressure on them.”

And as it often does, the defense sparked the offense. Four Raiders scored in double figures (a season high) and nine of the 10 Raiders who played scored, led by Kacee Baumhower’s 19.

“It feels good to get this first (win) down,” the junior said. “They played way better than we anticipated.”

Baumhower said the key was not going on long stretches without scoring. Against the Spartans Sunday, it was 19-19 after one but WSU went five minutes without scoring in the second quarter and was outscored 30-5.

“Today we didn’t let that little stretch happen,” Baumhower said.

Baumhower scored WSU’s first seven points to tie the game after an early deficit and added eight more in the second quarter as the Raiders led 40-30 at the half. Former Centerville standout Alexis Hutchison added eight in the first half while Lauren Scott — granddaughter of former Ohio State and Maryland coach Gary Williams — and Jada Scott — daughter of former Ohio State and Cincinnati player Jermaine Tate — each had six.

The Raiders led by as many as 17 in the third quarter before a 7-2 spurt by the Cougars cut the lead to 61-49 after three.

Scott made a pair of three pointers in the fourth quarter and then a fast-break bucket and free throw by Hutchison made it 79-57 with four minutes left.

Ball game.

“It was exactly what we needed,” Hoffman said of the team’s effort.

Scott finished with 17 points, while Hutchison added 16 while grabbing five rebounds, making four assists and drawing a game-high six fouls. Cara VanKempen chipped in 10 points, while Tate had eight, and Makiya Miller seven and four assists.

The Raiders are at Slippery Rock at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507