By: Andrew Korba
The 2015-16 edition of the Hiram College women's basketball team took a step forward. Under second year head coach Emily Hays, the Terriers posted a 12-14 overall record and a 6-10 mark in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). The 12 overall wins tied a program record and the six NCAC wins were the most for the program since they joined the conference in the 1999-00 season.
The season began on an emotional Saturday, as the Terriers returned to the Cintas Center in Cincinnati to take on Mount Saint Joseph in the Lauren Hill Tipoff Classic. Hiram posted a 70-63 season opening victory over the Lions.
The Terriers returned home and topped Thiel (Pa.) 71-42. Hiram then took part in the PSU-Behrend Tip-Off Tournament, playing in two thrillers. Hiram edged the host Lions in overtime 62-55, but fell to Fredonia State (N.Y.) in the title game 70-68, in another overtime contest.
Hiram returned home with a 57-46 win over Westminster (Pa.). The Terriers then split a pair of contests at the Jim Meagle Turkey Shoot, falling to host Marietta, but defeating Case Western.
The Terriers opened NCAC play with a 69-52 setback at Allegheny (Pa.), but responded with a 62-61 win at Kenyon, thanks to a layup in the closing seconds from sophomore Kaylee Shockley (Uniontown, Ohio/Lake).
Hiram went on to split its final two non-conference matchups, winning at Franciscan 56-44, but falling at home to Muskingum 59-56.
The Terriers would the defeat Wittenberg, before falling to No. 24-ranked DePauw (Ind.). Hiram answered with a tough 68-62 home win over Allegheny (Pa.).
Following a loss at Oberlin, the Terriers recorded a 77-62 win at Ohio Wesleyan. Hiram would drop its next two contests, before recording a thrilling 61-53 overtime win at Wooster. Junior Dana Perrotta (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) drained a 3-pointer as time expired to force the extra session.
The Terriers returned to Price Gym for another emotional day, as the parents of the late Lauren Hill presented the team with a Musial Award for Sportsmanship. Hiram fell on that afternoon to Ohio Wesleyan, which would begin a four game skid.
Hiram put an end to the losing streak by forcing Oberlin to commit 34 turnovers in a 53-50 win over the Yeowomen on Senior Day.
The Terriers entered the NCAC Tournament as the No. 6 seed, which was the highest in program history. Hiram's season would draw to a close at the hands of Kenyon in the NCAC Tournament Quarterfinals, by a 65-52 score.
Sophomore Mercedes Jones (Dayton, Ohio/Ponitz Career Technology Center) put together a strong season, leading the team in scoring (15.3 ppg), rebounding (6.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (.445). She was named Second Team All-NCAC for her efforts.
Shockley came on strong in her second season, averaging 10.8 ppg. She also led the team 65 steals and was second with 66 asssists.
Sophomore Allison Vannoy (Mantua, Ohio/Crestwood) proved to be a nice distributor at the point for the Terriers, leading the team and NCAC with 106 assists. She also averaged 8.2 ppg.
With a strong core returning next season and a successful season under their belts, the Hiram College women's basketball team will look to continue its upward trend next season and beyond.