WSU women lose on Senior Night

FAIRBORN — The Wright State women were finally able to avoid the slow start that’s been an unwelcome occurrence this season.

But the Raiders could not follow that with the well-known solid second half and lost, 77-63, to Northern Kentucky on Senior Night Saturday. WSU trailed by one at halftime and by five entering the fourth quarter. But the Norse used a 10-2 spurt to start the fourth and pull away as the Raiders could not get that one big defensive stop they needed.

NKU (9-16, 7-9 Horizon League) shot 50 percent in the fourth while the Raiders made just 21.4 percent of their shots, none from three-point range.

“We’re just not playing very smart basketball,” Coach Kari Hoffman said. “We’re getting scored on every position. We’re coming down and taking difficult, unbalanced shots.”

Senior Rachel Loobie made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 66-55 with 5:02 left and then with 3:37 left, junior Kacee Baumhower sank a jumper to make the score 69-57. But WSU (15-13, 9-8 HL) could get no closer.

“We just looked really rattled,” Hoffman said. “We just didn’t have an answer in the fourth. We’re playing really tight and that’s just not who we’ve been all year. We’ve been able to make the plays, we’ve been able to come back and punch back and we just, we aren’t doing that right now and we’re kind of living and dying on every shot and not shooting the ball great.”

Loobie and Baumhower scored 13 each to lead the Raiders. Loobie also had career highs with 15 rebounds and three blocks. Grad transfer Alexis Hutchison added 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Khamari Mitchell-Steen scored a game-high 30 points, while Carter McCray added 20 for the Norse.

The Raiders have now lost three of four and struggled to get to 60 points after putting up 90 against NKU Jan. 20. They entered the game averaging 70.7 points a game (94th nationally) but have scored that many just once this month, a 70-66 win over Purdue Fort Wayne.

“We lost some of our fundamentals and some of our luster for sure,” Hoffman said. “I think this group is too good to not have confidence in them. We’ll figure it out but man alive, these are the dog days and sometimes you know, they get the best of you and I think we’re in that. We’re in that little bit of a rut and it’s frustrating.”

Even though the league tournament is a couple weeks away and WSU is still in play for a bye or a first-round home game, a major reboot isn’t on the agenda.

“I think we’ll just keep challenging them to get better you know,” Hoffman said. “I think we can’t peter out here. We can’t just expect things to change without trying to improve and so we’ll just show up and try to improve and I don’t think we drastically need to change anything.”

WSU hosts Robert Morris at 7 p.m. Wednesday ion the final regular season home game.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.