Hutchison leads Wright State women past Robert Morris

FAIRBORN –  As she looked at Alexis Hutchison’s stat line in the final box score, Wright State coach Kari Hoffman paid her 5-foot-7 point guard the highest compliment:

“She’s just a baller. She makes the huge plays when you need them.”

Hutchison made a lot of them Wednesday night as the Raiders, playing their last home game of the regular season, outlasted Robert Morris, 76-68, at the Nutter Center.

The former Centerville High School player — who went on to a stellar four-year career at Division II Malone before transferring to WSU this season — finished with 26 points. But that’s not what brought the biggest smile from her coach.

Hutchison leads the Horizon League in scoring with a 18.7 points per game average.

And while the guard’s eight turnovers brought no smile at all from Hoffman, that was quickly eclipsed by Hutchison’s unbelievable dominance on the boards.

She finished with a career-high 16 rebounds. That’s 10 more than any other player on either team and more than any Raider has had all season.

“It felt like she was everywhere once that shot went up,” Hoffman said. “She can jump. And she has energy for days.

“She was getting off the floor first and grabbing the ball at its peak. She has a huge knack for where the ball is gonna land and she attacked that defensive glass. We needed that.”

Robert Morris came into the game with a 6-20 record and had lost its last 14 games.

But the Colonials led much of the first half and though WSU  had inched ahead after the intermission, the score was knotted, again, 64-64, with just 90 seconds left.

WSU then closed out the game with a 12-4 run, thanks to seven points by guard Kacee Baumhower, who finished with 18,  and three more Hutchison and two free throws by Lauren Scott.

The Raiders (16-13) needed this win. They had lost their last two games and in the process, Hoffman said, some of their confidence and identity:

“We caught two of the hottest teams in the league, but we were playing with the weight of the world on our shoulders too. It was like we felt we had to hold onto the spot in the league.”

The Raiders — who’d won just 12 games the past two years and were picked to finish seventh in the Horizon League this season — were third in the league a week ago and positioned well for the conference tournament which begins 12 days from now.

“We were looking too far ahead instead of just one game at a time,” Hoffman said. “I think we learned a lesson.

“As a coaching staff we tried to take all the pressure off the last couple of practices and just go have fun. We wanted them to just go compete and get our identity back and tonight it felt like we did.”

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