With a handful of games remaining in her collegiate career, Waterville s Erika Schultz continues to mount an assault on the Baldwin-Wallace College women s basketball record books.
Schultz has surpassed 1,000 points in her career and ranks ninth in scoring in Baldwin-Wallace history. The Anthony Wayne High School product has 728 career rebounds, which puts her in sixth place in Yellow Jacket history.
Schultz is averaging a team-leading 14.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this year. She has five double-doubles this year and 18 in her career. With her 11 points last Saturday in a win over Otterbein, Schultz has 1,038 career points.
“That s exciting,” Schultz said of her records. “But I like to think I m more team-oriented. I don t pay attention to my points or rebounds as long as we win the game. I just want to help my team win.”
And the 5-11 senior post player has fulfilled those aspirations.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Yellow Jackets are 22-3 overall and 15-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Baldwin-Wallace claimed at least a share of the OAC regular season title via a 65-51 win over Otterbein last Saturday.
Schultz has helped continue a fine tradition at Baldwin-Wallace.
The title is Baldwin-Wallace s fourth regular season crown in the last six years. The Yellow Jackets are ranked 23rd in the nation in Division III by D3hoops.com.
During her freshman year, the Yellow Jackets won OAC regular season and tournament titles. That year the Yellow Jackets reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III tournament for the sixth straight time. Despite coming off the bench her freshman year, Schultz finished second on the team in rebounds.
During her sophomore and junior years, Schultz became a starter and helped lead the Yellow Jackets to back-to-back 20-win seasons.
But Baldwin-Wallace had to settle for second place in the OAC both years and that doesn t sit well with Schultz. The Yellow Jackets have not won a conference title since her freshman year.
“It was a good feeling and it would feel good to win the title again,” Schultz said.
Schultz s team is playing in the OAC tournament this week and could get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament if it wins the tournament title. The Yellow Jackets also have an opportunity to get an at-large bid.
“We have a chance, but we want to win the conference tournament. I m fired up,” Schultz said.
That Baldwin-Wallace is in position to reach the post season tournament is a bit of a surprise.
The Yellow Jackets lost five players to graduation and many predicted they would struggle this season. But Schultz said Baldwin-Wallace recruited a great freshman class and that she and her two senior teammates have stepped up.
“In the beginning of the season it was kind of iffy,” Schultz said of her team s prospects.
“We had so many new girls. But after a few games we just clicked.”
Early on, the Yellow Jackets went on a nine-game winning streak.
“That surprised a lot of people, but we put in a lot of hard work,” she said.
Schultz was named a team captain this season and said she had no trouble assuming a leadership role.
“I think I lead by example,” Schultz said. “I think people follow actions more than words.”
Baldwin-Wallace had a streak of seven straight seasons of 20 or more wins and Schultz has helped continue that run.
Now she hopes to continue the Yellow Jackets string of seven straight appearances in the OAC Tournament championship game.
While Schultz didn t experience as much team success in her prep career at Anthony Wayne, she received plenty of individual accolades.
She was a three-time all-Northern Lakes League selection, including first team honors as a junior and senior.
She was a first team all-district player her senior season.
Schultz said one her fondest memories at Anthony Wayne was when her teammate standout guard Tonia Watkins set the school record for points in a season.
However that same record later became one of Schultz s worst high school memories.
Playing in her last high school game in a state playoff game against Central, Schultz needed only five points to break Watkins record.
But she sprained her ankle during the contest, which put an abrupt end to her high school career and a chance to break the scoring record.
However, that career almost never got under way. Schultz s first experience with basketball was not pleasant. She was cut from her teams in seventh and eighth grade.
But she said she worked hard in the summer before her freshman year in high school.
“I just think I wanted to play,” Schultz said.
“But I think if I would have been cut my freshman year I would have probably stopped trying.”
Schultz credited her freshman basketball coach Toni Watkins (Tonia s mother) for helping her improve her game.
“She was very encouraging,” Schultz said of Watkins who also coached her in AAU basketball.
“She s really the reason why I m playing today.”
As the end of her basketball career appears on the horizon, Schultz said she it hasn t hit her yet.
“It has consumed eight years of my life, you don t know what you are going to do after it,” Schultz said.
But Schultz is hoping to satiate that void by becoming a basketball coach.
Schultz is majoring in Health and Physical Education. She has a 3.7 grade point average and is on the dean s list.
She said she hopes to teach physical education and be a coach at the high school level.
“My dad has only missed two games in my career and it s an hour and 45-minute drive [from Whitehouse to Baldwin-Wallace in Berea, Ohio],” she said.
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