The Baker University women’s basketball team broke its five-game losing streak Jan. 28 against the Missouri Valley College Vikings by pulling off a 66-60 victory.
The Wildcats trailed 36-28 at halftime and stayed down until they made a comeback with less than three minutes left of playing time. Earlier in the season, Baker faced Missouri Valley and lost 72-71.
Baker lost after the Vikings made a 3-point shot in the last few seconds of the game.
Senior Gloria Atanmo said the team has grown a lot since their loss in December.
“This time, the team was more on the same page,” Atanmo said. “We are a lot more competitive, and the younger girls know what it’s like to play on this kind of team.”
Head coach Ben Lister said the team had more control of the tempo and of the ball. In the game against Avila University Jan. 26, the team struggled to take the lead and was unable to pull out a win.
“This time, we were able to get over the hump in the last five minutes of the game,” Lister said. “We had the opportunity to make plays we needed to win the game.”
A better defense was also important to the victory, with freshman Kyra Ramsey as a key defender.
“We were keyed in on their top scorers,” Lister said. “Last game, Sami Jackson scored 25 points on us, but this game, Kyra kept her (to making) three for 11 shots.”
Junior Alisha Fanshier saw Ramsey’s defense as the main reason for the win.
“Kyra was able to shut her down, which was great,” Fanshier said. “We never had a problem scoring, but defensively we haven’t quite got it.”
Freshman Shelbi Petty scored 25 points, which was her career high. Lister said her energy and big shots allowed the team to come through.
“There were times when we were struggling to score and (Shelbi) stepped up and gave us momentum,” Lister said.
Despite their record, the ‘Cats are optimistic about the rest of the season.
“Don’t count us out yet,” Atanmo said. “There are seven games left in the season and momentum is on our side.”
Coach Lister said the team is excited for the challenge of the rest of the season.
The Wildcats had a non-conference matchup against No. 3 College of the Ozarks Tuesday in Collins Center, but lost 68-54.
Atanmo was the lone Wildcat in double figures with 10 points and she also led the team in rebounds with nine.
Baker had no answer for center Morgan Smith, who had a game-high 28 points on 12-21 shooting from the field.
Baker will resume conference play against the Crusaders of Evangel University at 2 p.m. Saturday in Springfield, Mo.
The ’Cats lost a close matchup to the Crusaders earlier in the season 72-69 in Collins Center.
As of Wednesday, the Wildcats are deadlocked in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, but are only two games out of fifth place.