Baker Stays Hot as Knights Snap Six Game Slide

Photo by Justo Photography
Photo by Justo Photography

Written by Chris Pendleton

UNIONTOWN, Pa.—Senior Nicole Baker followed her season-high 29-point outburst on Wednesday with a 28-point performance at Penn State-Fayette on Friday helping the Southern Virginia University women's basketball team snap a six-game slide with an 83-76 road win over the Roaring Lions.

Baker (Burley, Idaho), who hit nine of her 14 shots on Friday while pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds, is shooting a scorching 70 percent (21-of-30) from the field and 92.3 percent (12-of-13) from the line during Southern Virginia's (6-7) past two games. Baker leads the Knights in both field-goal percentage (51.7 percent) and free-throw percentage (88.2 percent) on the season. 

Neither team led by more than five points during Friday's first half as juniors Abigail Logan (Buena Vista, Va.) and Amaris Newkirk (Folsom, N.M.) paced Southern Virginia in the opening period scoring nine points apiece to give the Knights a two-point advantage (38-36) over Penn State-Fayette (4-7) at intermission. 

Following halftime, Penn State-Fayette outscored Southern Virginia 10-2 over the first two minutes of the second half making it 40-47 in favor of the Roaring Lions with 17:57 remaining in the game. A made jump shot from Baker eleven seconds later ended the Roaring Lions' run and ignited a Southern Virginia rally as the Knights scored nine of the game's next eleven points capped by a Morgan Neese (Sanford, Colo.) 3-pointer at the 16:02 mark that evened the score at 49-49. 

Another Baker jump shot six and a half minutes later tied the game at 60 apiece just before the Roaring Lions rolled off ten unanswered points over the next 90 seconds giving Penn State-Fayette its largest lead of the evening with under eight minutes (7:47) left on the clock.

Southern Virginia responded by outscoring its host 23-6 over the final seven and a half minutes of play as the Knights secured their first win since defeating Meredith College 106-94 at home on Nov. 22, 2011.

After an eight-point first half, Baker exploded for 20 points in the second half while missing on only one of her eight field-goal attempts as the Knights charged back from their late double-digit deficit.

Newkirk was Southern Virginia's second leading scorer pouring in a season-best 16 points to go a long with 13 rebounds. Logan also finished with season-highs in both points (11) and rebounds (12).

Neese was the third Knight to net a season-high on Friday adding nine points and grabbing four boards in her second start of the season, while fellow starter Cara Joyner (Columbia, Miss.) also finished with nine points and four rebounds.

Larissa Conger (Merino, Colo.) chipped in seven points off the bench.

Next up, women's basketball travels to Penn College (1-14) on Wednesday, Jan. 25 for a game at 7 p.m.