The best part of a run through a postseason basketball tournament is that it isn't done yet.
That's where the Hillsdale College women's basketball team stands, after an 82-64 dismantling of #1 seed Cedarville University Friday night in the G-MAC Women's Tournament semifinal.
The Chargers, now 18-10 on the season, advance to Saturday's championship game where it will face the University of Findlay at 2 p.m. at Cedarville. This is the fourth time in program history Hillsdale plays in a conference tournament championship game, adding 2018 to a list that includes 2002, 2007 and 2009. Hillsdale previously won GLIAC Tournament championships in 2002 and 2009.
A win against Findlay would grant the Chargers not only the G-MAC title, but an automatic bid to the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament.
Friday's semifinal game presented a unique challenge to Hillsdale. The Chargers were facing Cedarville, the tournament's number one seed and regular season champion on its own home court. But true to the character and determination of this team, it flung aside those challenges and played some superior basketball from start to finish.
Hillsdale established dominance early in the game, opening the first quarter on a 19-6 run in the first 8 ½ minutes, capped by a pair of 3-point baskets by sophomore Sydney Anderson. The Chargers held a double digit lead for 32 of the game's 40 minutes, an amazing stat of dominance, considering the opponent and the circumstances.
Cedarville shot just 27 percent from the floor in the first half while the Chargers continued their dominance in the rebounding department. Hillsdale held a 47-33 edge on the boards, a key component in making sure the Yellow Jackets were limited in their ability to cut into the lead.
Hillsdale's lead grew to as large as 24 points early in the third quarter, but a 9-2 Yellow Jacket run to end the third quarter appeared to give the home team momentum. Cedarville got as close as down 13 with five minutes to go, but layups by Brittany Gray and Jaycie Burger stopped the threat by the home team.
Junior forward Makenna Ott stepped up with a terrific ballgame in the semifinal win. She scored 20 points, going 9-for-14 from the floor, to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists while playing 39 of the game's 40 minutes. She is typically the team's steadiest player, but on a night when her production was needed most, she answered the call and was tremendous.
Burger, a freshman guard, scored her second-most points of the season, pouring in 13 with a pair of 3-pointers in 23 effective minutes off the bench. She also hauled down 6 rebounds, contributing to Hillsdale's big advantage in that department.
Hillsdale held Cedarville to 20 percent shooting from 3-point land (6-for-30) and 34.8 percent shooting overall for the game.