Kirk Martin’s wait for his 300th win as Cedarville University women’s basketball coach will last until at least today after his team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday.
Of course, with NCAA Division II’s fifth-ranked team, Indianapolis, in town for a 2 p.m. game, there’s no guarantee he won’t have to wait seven more days for Cedarville’s next game.
No matter what happens today, though, the Yellow Jackets are off to a strong start. They’re 6-1 in their first official season as a D-II team, losing only to 84-65 to Charleston (W.V.).
“We’re thrilled with where we’re at,” Martin said. “We had a couple of nice wins early. (Wednesday) night was what it was. The thing we’re learning about D-II is you don’t get to take a night off and win. Charleston was focused and played well. We weren’t able to match their energy, and we got beat. That’s what happens.”
This is Martin’s 12th season as head coach. He’s 299-77, and Cedarville has won at least 20 games in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
Junior Kayla Jenerette, a 5-foot-4 guard from Greenville, S.C., leads the Yellow Jackets with 15.7 points per game. She became the 21st player in school history to pass the 1,000-point mark in her career in the team’s fourth game Nov. 17.
“Kayla is our glue,” Martin said. “She just works hard from the opening tip to the end of the game. She’s a competitor and has fire and desire. She just shoots the ball unbelievably well. When you’re 5-4, under her height limitations, she uses her drive and motivation to work through that. She’s loved the step up to Division II. It’s been a challenge for us. She has the focus of our opponents.”
Cedarville’s second-leading scorer and rebounder is another Kayla, 5-10 forward Kayla Linkous of Tri Village. She’s not starting, but she’s averaging 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. She had a double-double, with season highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds, in Cedarville’s last win, Dec. 2 against Salem International.
Three other freshman have gotten some playing time: Southeastern’s Jenna Erwin, Greenon’s Whitney Robinson and Taylor Vander Plas, or Ripon, Wis.
“We’ve gotten a nice boost from our recruiting class,” Martin said. “(Linkous) is one of those players who have the God-given ability to throw the ball to the rim, and it just goes in. Sometimes you can’t figure out why, but it just goes in.”
Milestone win: Cedarville men’s basketball coach Pat Estepp recorded his 100th career win Thursday in a 76-69 victory over Saint Joseph’s. He’s the third coach in school history to win 100 games, following Don Callan and his predecessor, Ray Slagle.
Estepp is 100-40 in five seasons. The Yellow Jackets are 4-5 this season and are being led by Zimmy Nwogbo’s 16.3 points pregame.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.