By: Andrew Korba
The Hiram College women's basketball team made a return trip the NCAC Tournament in the 2014-15 season. The Terriers, under first year head coach Emily Hays, posted a 7-19 overall record and 3-13 mark in the NCAC.
The season was supposed to start like any other one. Hiram was set to open at home against Mount Saint Joseph. But a special situation arose and the Terriers were more than willing to accommodate. Mount Saint Joseph freshman Lauren Hill was diagnosed an inoperable form of cancer. Her dream was to play in a collegiate game.
Hiram agreed to move the game up two weeks and to Mount Saint Joseph. Due to the overwhelming demand, the game was moved to the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier. Despite the Terriers 66-55 loss, everyone involved in the game was deemed a winner. Hill finished the game with four points.
The Terriers returned home and topped Chatham (Pa.) in their home opener 77-57. Hiram then hosted its annual Terrier Tip-Off Classic, falling to Albion (Mich.) and national power Calvin (Mich.).
Hiram picked up a non-conference win at Westminster, but fell in its first two NCAC contests to Allegheny (Pa.) and Kenyon. The Terriers would follow that up with non-conference road wins at Thiel (Pa.) and Bethany (W. Va.).
The Terriers would fall in their next nine contests, before defeating Wooster at home 81-66 for their first NCAC win of the season. Hiram followed up that effort with a road win at Ohio Wesleyan, 81-74.
Hiram dropped its next two games but picked up a thrilling 69-68 win at Wooster on an old-fashioned 3-point play by freshman Kaylee Shockley (Uniontown/Lake) with 13 seconds left. Hiram then dropped a tough overtime contest at Oberlin and fell to Denison on Senior Night.
The Terriers qualified for the NCAC Tournament, but faced a tough task at No. 8 DePauw (Ind.). Hiram ultimately fell to DePauw, bringing its season to a close
Two players for Hiram earned accolades from the conference. Sophomore Kayla Yost (Norwalk/Perkins) earned Second Team All-NCAC honors, after leading the team in scoring (13.2 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg) and double-doubles (nine). In total, Yost pulled down 221 rebounds, which was ninth most in single season history.
Freshman Mercedes Jones (Dayton/Ponitz Career Technology Center) earned NCAC Newcomer of the Year honors after averaging 10.0 ppg and leading the team with 16 blocks. In addition, Jones shot .510 from the field, which was tops on the team and fourth best in single season program history.
Hiram bid farewell to two seniors on the squad. Senior Kelsey Koskinen (Madison) averaged 9.6 ppg and recorded a career-high 33 assists. Koskinen drained 45 3-pointers on the season, which was tied for second most in single season program history. She concludes her career ranked sixth in career games (100) and second in 3's made (124). Senior Taylor Ratliff (Berea/Columbia) enjoyed her best season as a Terrier. She finished the season with career-bests in scoring (8.8 ppg), rebounding (2.1 rpg), assists (44) and steals (21).
Hiram will look to continue to build towards the future. With a core of players returning next season that gained valuable experience, the Terriers will look to take the next step forward in 2015-16.