A basketball team is only as good as its bench, and the Cedarville University women’s squad can thank North Kingstown High School graduate Taylor Buckley for her contributions off the pine so far this winter.

The former Skipper has made her impact felt when called upon for the Yellowjackets, playing in all 10 games to date as the team’s primary reserve option.

When given the chance, Buckley has embraced it with both hands, such as when the senior forward sees a loose ball around the rim.

She has pulled down 71 rebounds, buoyed by 12-board hauls against Ashland and Hillsdale, in which she managed to string together a double-double.

In the Veterans’ Day matchup with the former, Buckley shot 8-of-10 from the field on her way to a career-high 20-point performance against the defending Division II national champions.

However, Cedarville’s upset bid fell short in the most agonizing way possible, with Ashland’s Laina Snyder draining a buzzer-beater to claim a 79-78 victory and the Eagles’ 39th-straight win.

Buckley’s efficient shooting in the heartbreaking defeat served as a taste of things to come, as her 67.3 field goal percentage currently paces all Yellowjacket players with at least 50 shot attempts.

She has twice nailed all of her shooting opportunities, going 5-of-5 against Wilberforce Nov. 30 and going one better against Trevecca Nazarene a week to the day later, her 13 points leading all bench players in the 75-60 Cedarville triumph.

Her 30 offensive rebounds serves as the high-water mark for the Yellowjacket five, having picked up at least one in every contest to date, with a season best of seven in the tussle with Ashland.

Cedarville entered their holiday break with an 8-2 record, the other defeat coming in its last contest before a two week hiatus courtesy of a 93-82 double overtime setback at the hands of Findlay Dec. 16.

Buckley and the Yellowjackets mark their return to action Saturday with a trip to Walsh, who will be meeting Cedarville for the first time as a member of the Great Midwest.

Briefly

Former Prout guard RJ Hadfield is suiting up for the Curry College basketball team this winter, appearing in seven contests for the Colonels thus far and averaging 5.1 points per game . . . Former Rebel Mary Eden has started every game to date for Salve Regina, leading the Seahawks with 34 assists and 12 steals . . . Narragansett alumna Brooke McGreen notched her first goal of the season in Sacred Heart’s 11-0 thrashing of Lebanon Valley Dec. 8, closing out the scoring with 49 seconds remaining in the contest.

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