By Kevin Schrock
The University of Findlay women’s basketball squad took their shot at one of the best teams in the nation on Thursday, Jan. 21 in Croy and fell just short. They led 37-33 at the half against #4 Ashland, but ended up dropping the contest 78-69. Two days later they played down to the level of Lake Erie and after a poor second quarter fell 73-64.
Karli Bonar paced the Oilers on Jan. 21 by drilling six shots from long range on her way to 19 points. The Oilers kept things close until the final four minutes of play when Ashland pulled away for the win.
On Saturday the Oilers put on one of their worst performances of the season at home. Twenty-two turnovers were the culprit of the Findlay loss as they actually dominated the battle of the boards 35-25.
“Today was the worst game we’ve played all year,” said Findlay coach Jim Wiedie.”It started with our energy level which was surprising to me considering the way we played Thursday.”
The Oilers dug themselves a big hole going into halftime by getting outscored 20-10 in the second quarter. The Oilers shot 3-13 in the quarter and committed seven turnovers in the 10-minute period.
Still the Oilers made a run at the Storm in the second half.
“We made some positive steps in the second half but it seemed every time we took a step forward we took two steps back,” said Wiedie. “It just started with our energy and when we didn’t have it from the get-go we couldn’t recover.”
Down 49-35 midway through the third quarter, the Oilers were on the verge of being out of the game before they started making a run. After a free throw by Christa Puthoff, Bonar sank back-to-back threes and Haley Horstman got the take-away at the top of the key on the ensuing Storm possession. She drove straight to the hoop and as the referee’s whistle sounded her shot fell through. The Oiler faithful jumped up thinking it would be a three-point play but instead Horstman was whistled for a charge.
“That was a big stretch,” added Wiedie. “If that call goes the other way who knows, maybe we can continue to ride that momentum and make a comeback in the second half.”
So instead of potentially bringing the game to within four points, the Oilers ended the third quarter down nine and couldn’t complete that comeback in the fourth quarter.
Now the Oilers will look to turn things around on Thursday when they take on Walsh back at home in Croy where they are 4-4 on the year.
“I’ll be curious to see how we respond next week,” added Wiedie. “We’ve been a resilient group all year that’s why this is so perplexing to me.”
Despite the four-game skid, the Oilers are still in the thick of things in the GLIAC with a 6-6 conference record. They still have plenty of time to secure a playoff spot if they can turn things around quickly.