JCU Women’s Basketball tops Muskingum in OAC opener

John Carroll graduate student Nicole Heffington playing at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center earlier this season.

John Carroll Sports Information Department

John Carroll graduate student Nicole Heffington playing at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center earlier this season.

Dylan Feltovich, Staff Reporter

The No. 3 John Carroll University Women’s Basketball team remains undefeated after a hard-fought 76-68 victory against Muskingum University on the road on Saturday, Dec. 4.

While the Blue Streaks came into the matchup with a flawless record, the Fighting Muskies dropped two straight away games and looked to bounce back at home as Ohio Athletic Conference play began.

But JCU had different plans.


The Blue Streaks’ offense shot out of a cannon from the beginning, establishing a dominant post presence. 20 of the 24 first quarter points were manufactured inside the paint, with graduate student Nicole Heffington and Oliva Nagy ‘22 being the main contributors. Nagy completed the quarter with eight points, six coming in the final two minutes of the quarter to give the Blue & Gold a 24-19 lead.


“Our game plan has always been to get the ball inside in order to collapse the defense so that it creates more opportunities for outside shots and also gives the posts a chance to score,” said Nagy. “Generally, whoever is making their shots during each game, we try to get the ball to them as much as possible. This past game against Muskingum happened to be a strong game for our posts.”


Nagy finished the game with a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 boards.


However, this momentum could not be carried into the second quarter when the offense only produced nine points compared to Muskingum’s 19 points. Two three pointers in the final two minutes from the Fighting Muskies gave them a late surge to take a 38-33 lead heading into halftime.


The slight lead Muskingum possessed quickly diminished due to offensive contributions from everyone on the floor for the Blue Streaks. The team would amass 26 points in the third quarter, salvaging their lead. 


With the change of tides, the Blue Streaks found themselves back in the driver’s seat leading 59-53.


Along with regaining the rhythm built in the first quarter, John Carroll’s defense contained Muskingum with 12 steals and 28 defensive rebounds. Leading the charge on defense was graduate student guard Abby Adler, who totaled four steals.


“The biggest parts of our defense day in and day out are communication and effort,” stated Alder. “Talking through screens, help rotations, and on ball defense allows us to force the other team to make mistakes. Defense is 10% skill and 90% effort, so at the end of the day it really comes down to who wants it more.”


While the fourth quarter did not see the same offensive output as the first and third quarters, it was enough to close the game.


Nagy was not the only high-scorer for the Blue Streaks on Saturday. 


Heffington and Kaelyn Underwood ‘23 also saw double digit figures in the points column, as Heffington finished with 18 points and Underwood with 14.


Despite being 2-11 from outside the arc, they found success with their mid-to-post game, going 45.7% from the field.


The undefeated Blue Streaks will take on arch-rival Mount Union this Wednesday, Dec. 8 in Alliance, Ohio.