JCU Women’s Basketball senior class blows out the candles and Muskingum on Saturday night


Carmen Ferrante

From left to right: Stephanie Labas, Nicole Heffington, Gabrielle Gevaudan, Sarah Sprecher, Abby Adler and Dani Carlson

Anna Meyer, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, Feb. 20, the John Carroll University Women’s Basketball senior class was recognized at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center for the accomplishments the super six have achieved throughout their past four years with the program. 

After the pre-game festivities and recognition, the seniors put the icing on the cake to top off senior night with a persuasive 88-52 victory over Muskingum University. 

The standout senior class — comprised of Abby Adler, Dani Carlson, Gabrielle Gevaudan, Nicole Heffington, Sarah Sprecher and Stephanie Labas are key contributors to the turnaround by  JCU Women’s Basketball since the 2017-2018 season — these seniors’ freshman year and last losing season of their careers. 

Last night, the super six showed off their versatile skill set and leadership abilities once again as the class combined for 41 points on their home court. 

“Last night was all about playing together and playing for our six seniors,” said Head Coach Beth Andrews after Saturday night’s victory. “The second night is always about us. We still had goals to fix from [Friday] last night.”

As a senior class, this group of women has accomplished incredible feats while facing the adversity of a coaching change and shortened season during their senior year due to COVID-19.

They hold a 62-31 record over the last four seasons and have been to the NCAA Tournament, won an Ohio Athletic Conference Championship, tabbed OAC Runner Up accolades and went to three OAC Tournaments.

John Carroll started the game on the right foot Saturday with dominant scoring outside the arc, resulting in a 23-9 lead after the first 10 minutes of play courtesy of Adler, Carlson and Heffington.

The theme of domination continued as the Blue Streaks’ bench heated up during the second quarter. Sophomores Kayla Gudel and Jaylen Hoffmann combined for 11 points during the first half of the game. Those points were just a fraction of the 43-point showing the bench made during the victory. 

The seniors’ mentorship has translated well into a promising sophomore class for John Carroll. Hoffmann put up a career-high 11 points while Gudel had her second consecutive night of scoring eight points and grabbing seven boards.

“She [Hoffmann] is doing a great job listening. She is seeing what happens on the floor prior to going in the game,” said Andrews. “She’s doing a really good job of taking the tips from Michaela Barnes of being an undersized guard.” 

John Carroll’s scoring confidence continued in the second half of the game, with the Blue and Gold outscoring Muskingum 43-30. John Carroll shot 44.3% from the field and 41.2% from outside the arc in the victory. 

Heffington led the point category, adding 19 to the scoreboard. Carlson and Hoffman followed with 11 points each, respectively. Gudel led in the category of rebounds with seven. 

This past weekend’s two victories over Muskingum resulted in John Carroll improving their record to 9-1 with one week left of regular-season basketball. 

With the tournament around the corner, it is time for the basketball program to start looking at things more earnestly.

“We will get more serious than ever,” said Andrews. “It’s going to sink in that if we drop one game, it’s over for our team in the tournament.”

John Carroll will be back in action looking to grab their No. 10 win of the season against Otterbein at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center in University Heights on Feb. 26. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.