Eppard Key Down the Stretch, Spartan Women Defeat BW 61-56 in Home Opener

Berit Eppard scored a game-high 16 points, including six of the final nine in the contest. (photo by Ryan Baker)
Berit Eppard scored a game-high 16 points, including six of the final nine in the contest. (photo by Ryan Baker)

CLEVELAND – Senior forward Berit Eppard (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek) scored 16 points, including six of the game's final nine, as the Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team rallied to win its 2014-15 home opener versus Baldwin Wallace University, 61-56, on Tuesday evening at Horsburgh Gymnasium.

The Spartans improve to 2-1, while the Yellow Jackets are 0-1 after their first game of the season.

Eppard, who scored all of her game-high 16 points in the second half, crept up on a triple-double with seven rebounds and seven assists. Three other Spartan starters scored in double-figures with sophomore guard Jessica McCoy (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) at 14, senior wing Brooke Orcutt (Morrison, Colo./Dakota Ridge) at 12, and junior post Laura Mummey (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) at 10.

Led by Eppard (8-for-8) and Orcutt (6-for-6), the Spartans hit 19 free throws compared to just nine for BW.

The Yellow Jackets, who led by 10 early in the second, were paced by Audrey Smolik and Alissa Munro with 11 points apiece.

The Spartans led 13-11 following a Mummey layup at 8:50 of the first half, but a scoreless drought of more than five minutes allowed BW to piece together a 9-0 run ending in a Megan Schubert jumper at 4:32. That seven-point advantage for the visitors would eventually dip to five at the half as the Spartans pulled to within 26-21.

Out of the break, the Yellow Jackets scored the first five to lead 31-21 when Mackenzie Colombo hit a layup with 17:25 left to play. CWRU then battled back with a 6-0 run culminating in two Orcutt free throws at 16:26, but BW was able to withstand the rally and build its lead back to nine (38-29) following a Janaya Feaster layup with 13:26 remaining.

Refusing to go away, the Spartans chipped away later in the half with a 9-2 run which tied the score at 47-47 as Eppard hit a short jumper with 4:25 on the clock. Three more ties occurred before the Spartans grabbed their first lead in nearly 27 minutes of game time as Orcutt hit two charity shots to make the score 54-52 with 1:04 left to play.

BW momentarily tied the score at 54-54, but the Spartans went ahead for good on an Eppard jumper with 37 ticks on the clock. The senior captain also grabbed an offensive rebound on the next CWRU possession and sealed the deal with two of her four free throws in the final 24 seconds.

The Spartans are back in action next Tuesday, November 25 at Kenyon College at 7:00 p.m. in Gambier, Ohio.