The Central Methodist women’s basketball Eagles battled back from a 10-point deficit in the second half to earn their third straight victory over a ranked opponent.
The Eagles (16-7, 10-2 HAAC) defeated the No. 11 Baker Wildcats (18-5, 9-3 HAAC) 80-79, turning Puckett Field House into a madhouse.
The crowd was very much involved in the fourth quarter as CMU rallied from behind. They trailed by six points at the start of the fourth quarter.
The crowd noise came to a climax with :17 remaining, when CMU senior guard Dejonee Hale drove to the basket for a go-ahead layup. She drew a foul and converted the free throw attempt, giving the Eagles an 80-77 lead.
“Why anyone let’s her get the ball in the last 30 seconds, I don’t know,” head coach Mike Davis said. “She’s a special kid. They were guarding her hard. She did a great job with it.”
After Modesett tied the game at seven apiece with a three pointer, Central Methodist placed together a 10-0 run. Miranda Marquez added eight points during that run, with two triples.
Baker answered with an 11-0 run, regaining the lead with off a lay-up by Ewanisiha. Under 45 seconds remaining in quarter, Marquez stole the ball for an easy bucket by Mitchell. Central Methodist held the one point advantage at 19-18 to end the first.
In the first possession, Brandi Henton knocked down a triple to stretch the lead for Central Methodist to four points. Baker turned an eight-point swing to take the four-point lead at 26-22 with 8:33 remaining in the quarter.
Hale connected on a 15-foot jumper to pull Central Methodist to one possession. However, a triple by Smith stretch Baker’s lead to double-digits with 2:56 left. To end the quarter, Richardson converted on a triple from the top of the key to bring Central Methodist within seven points heading into halftime, 44-37.
Coming out of halftime, both teams traded buckets as Baker held a seven point advantage multiple throughout the quarter. A triple by Hignight and two made free throws by Smith extended Baker’s lead to double-digits. However, Hale went 2-of-2 from the line and an elbow jumper trimmed the deficit 64-58 to end the third.
Central Methodist started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run, as Richardson connected on her second triple of the game during the run. With 4:13 Medesett made a triple to tie the game at 70-70. Once again, Modesett made a triple from the top of the key to put Baker up 75-72 with 2:17 left. Hale converted on both free throws, but Hoag made a jumper at the elbow to put Baker up 77-74 with 1:23 left in the game.
The last minute showed to be all Hale as she made a three-pointer to tie the game at 77-77. With a missed shot by Baker on the next possession, Hale come down the court and drove to the basket for an old fashion three-point play. The free-throw put Central Methodist up by three with 17 seconds remaining. Central Methodist was able to hold on and pull out the 80-79 upset win over Baker.
CMU picked up a win over Missouri Valley College on Feb. 3 to improve to 17-7 and 11-2 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
“There’s three of us tied for first,” Davis said. “MidAm (MidAmerica Nazarene, William Penn and ourselves are all 11-2. There are two teams at 9-4, which would be Baker and Benedictine. We go to Benedictine next Wednesday, so that’s a big ball game there and one we need.”
The Eagles’ game against Benedictine is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Atchison, Kansas.
CMU returns to Puckett Field House on Feb. 10 when they host Peru State. That game begins at 2 p.m., with the men’s basketball Eagles to follow at 4 p.m.