Sticking to the script leads to WSU win


FAIRBORN — Down 14 points after the first quarter, Kari Hoffman had some encouraging words for the Wright State Raiders.

“I said there’s actually good news because we haven’t done one thing on our scouting report yet. ‘If you start doing what we have on the scouting report, we’ll start getting stops.’ ” the WSU women’s coach said.

Message received.

“They agreed to it. They said yeah you’re right. The start of that second quarter showed that. We started executing our game plan,” Hoffman said.

The Raiders outscored Oakland 12-0 to start the second quarter, led by one at halftime, and never trailed again in a much-needed 80-68 win over the Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Four players scored in double figures, led by Alexis Hutchison’s game-high 21, as the Raiders (13-10 overall, 7-5 Horizon League) snapped a two-game losing streak. Kacee Baumhower added 18 points and six rebounds, while Jada Tate had 10 and five. Cara VanKempen also had 10 points for the Raiders, who were without Rachel Loobie and had six players play the bulk of the minutes — 175 of 200.

“The flu has hit us hard. There’s been a lot of adversity the past week and this group hasn’t made excuses,” Hoffman said. “They just keep fighting, they keep showing up and I’m really really proud of them. They played their tails off today. It’s what a coach would call a really gutsy performance. What they did out there was inspiring and powerful.”

Hutchison and Baumhower had a hand in all 12 points the Raiders scored to get back in the game. Hutchison made the first two baskets to cut the lead from 28-14 to 28-18 a minute into the quarter. Baumhower made a layup 45 seconds later and then Layne Ferrell swished a three-pointer off an assist from Hutchison to cut Oakland’s lead to five with 7:42 left.

Less than 30 seconds later, Hutchison grabbed a rebound and led a fast break, finding Tate in the lane for a layup. Then with 6:18 left in the half, Hutchison made one of two from the line and WSU trailed by just two.

Oakland (9-11, 5-7) twice increased the lead to four, but each time, the Raiders answered with three-pointers — first by VanKempen and then by Baumhower, the latter coming with 2:49 left in the half.

Down one, Hutchison gave WSU its first lead after making two free throws with 2:22 left and then Baumhower made it 35-33 Raiders after making one of two from the line with 1:55 left. Oakland took the lead again just before the break, but Hutchison made a layup with two seconds left to give WSU a 39-38 halftime lead — a lead it would not give up the rest of the game despite several rallies by the Golden Grizzlies.

The Raiders built a 12-point lead less than four minutes into the third quarter but it was cut to 61-56 after three and later down to one-point twice in the fourth before the Raiders pulled away late.

“Kacee and Hutch had to have really good games because I honestly barely had a sub for either one of them,” Hoffman said. “For Hutch to have 10 rebounds and Kacee to have six rebounds, our two leading rebounders, that’s what we asked of them today. They did that and more. Hutch probably had one of her best offensive games going 8 for 13, putting up 21 points and then also having six assists. Just being a facilitator, being confident with the ball, shooting great shots. We’ve worked on her and it’s been a patient process all year long and I think were seeing some of her best ball right now.”

Hutchison had averaged a little more than six three-point attempts per game, but she hoisted just one on Wednesday and that patience spread to the entire team.

“We didn’t settle, which was good,” Hutchison said. “Sometimes we do that. We got in the paint, we tried to get and-ones, tried to get fouls, which was good. I thought we shared the ball extremely well. We found each other.”

Wright State also found the free throw line, making 22 of 27, the second-highest number of makes this season. Oakland only attempted 11, making eight.

“We haven’t been shooting the three-ball great,” Hoffman said. “Being a versatile team is what I know we are. You know everyone will say we’re just shooters. But we can score at the rim as well. Winning that free throw battle was huge for us. We needed to get to the line more. We needed to foul less than they did and I believe we did that. That was our game plan.”

WSU has a quick turnaround, hosting Detroit at 7 p.m. Friday.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

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