|Megan Baird is finding her scoring touch, and not a moment too soon with the MAC Freedom playoffs beginning tonight.
Photo by Pat Jacoby Photography
When DeSales senior guard Megan Baird scored a career-high 27 points against FDU-Florham on Feb. 4, it was more than a good performance. It was the end of a weeks-long slump.
On Jan. 7 at Delaware Valley, Baird went one-for-seven from the field, hitting just one of five three-point attempts. That started a nine-game stretch in which she struggled to score, including four scoreless games. In her best performance in that stretch, she made three of four field goals and finished with nine points.
Baird has now scored in double figures in three of DeSales’ last five games. After the game against FDU-Florham, she scored 15 points at King’s on Feb. 11 and 13 points against Delaware Valley on Feb. 18. She made six of seven three-pointers against FDU-Florham, four of five three-pointers at King’s, and three of five three-pointers against Delaware Valley.
Baird struggled at Wilkes on Feb. 8, making just one of seven field goals and missing all four of her three-point tries, and against Misericordia on Feb. 14, shooting 2-for-13 overall and 0-for-6 from three-point range. But her recent success has encouraged head coach Fred Richter.
“This run that she’s made lately is the kind of consistency that we really appreciate and helps us win,” Richter said.
Baird’s up-and-down shooting doesn’t exactly scream “consistent.” But Baird has shown that she is capable of big games, making her an important piece of DeSales’ offense. Of the Bulldogs’ several wing players, Richter said, no one person provides steady scoring. Instead, Richter said, he can expect “two or three good performances” from that group in a game.
Baird is “no different from most of the girls on our team,” Richter said. “We don’t have any 15-point-a-game wing players.”
Baird started eight of DeSales’ first 12 games and then did not start nine consecutive games. After her breakout performance against FDU-Florham, Richter put her back in the starting lineup. Baird will start on Wednesday when DeSales (19-6, 11-3 MACF) faces Misericordia in a MAC Freedom semifinal, Richter said.
The reason for the shooting slump, Baird said, was that she was struggling with a new schedule. Baird began student teaching this semester, waking up at 5:30 a.m. and working from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. “My body wasn’t really adjusted,” she said.
Baird is “really well adjusted” to her routine now, she said. But initially, the new demands physically fatigued her, which affected her on the court. “I wasn’t really using my legs” when shooting, she said.
Baird averaged 10.1 points per game as a sophomore. An Achilles injury limited her role last season, Richter said. Now, Baird is healthy, starting, and scoring.
“I want to go out strong with my team,” she said. “We know that this is a really big part of our season, and we need to peak at the right time.”
With 5:47 left in the second half of Rowan and Ramapo’s NJAC semifinal on Tuesday, freshman forward Jordan Sintras entered the game for the Profs. Rowan trailed by 19 points, 93-74.
With 5:26 remaining, Sintras made a three-pointer. That started a 21-8 run that got Rowan within six points of Ramapo with 1:01 left in the game.
Ramapo went on to win, 110-101, but Sintras made his presence known. He made a total of three three-pointers during that run to finish with nine points, tying his career high. Overall, he saw 12 minutes of action.
Not bad for a guy who had not scored more than three points in a game since Jan. 14 and had not played more than six minutes in a game since Jan. 25.
“I loved the way he came in and he was aggressive,” Rowan head coach Joe Crispin said of Sintras’ second-half performance on Tuesday. “Maybe I should have gotten him in there sooner.”