Section: Sports

Ladies bow out at the buzzer, but already eyeing encore

Ladies bow out at the buzzer, but already eyeing encore

Charlotte Bussema ‘17, center, and Jessica Gerber ‘19 defend against DePauw at home earlier this year. Courtesy of Kenyon Athletics

Not many losses could have stung worse than the one the Ladies suffered on Friday at the hands of the DePauw University Tigers, who beat Kenyon 59-58 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Though Ifeoma Archimalo ’18 scored 15 points, and Bailey Dominguez ’17 contributed 12, the loss eliminated the Ladies from the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) women’s basketball tournament, leaving Kenyon with a final record of 18-9 (NCAC 11-5).

Seconds before the game-winning shot by Emily Budde of DePauw (22-6; NCAC 13-3), Sidney Cera ’17 drove into the paint to score a layup, putting Kenyon up 58-56 with just over eight seconds remaining.

Cera’s drive capped off the Ladies’ ferocious fight to put themselves back in the game after finding themselves down by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter. The team unleashed a barrage of three-pointers, including one from Griffin Tullis ’18 that tied the game with under two minutes to go. Dominguez also scored a three-pointer in the fourth quarter and made key plays on the defensive end, including a block and a steal that lead to Cera’s layup.

“It was really the result of our team defense,” Dominguez said of the two plays. “That’s what we’ve been working on the whole year, and at that moment I think that really culminated in our team defense.”

In the end, DePauw made the biggest shot of the game. Budde’s game-winner propelled the Tigers to the NCAC tournament finals, where they stomped the Allegheny College Gators (15-13; NCAC 8-8) to the tune of 83-53 and claimed the conference title, their 10th in the last 13 seasons.

Friday’s loss marks not only the end of the Ladies’ season, but also the last time seniors Molly Rubin and Shelby Gray will play in Kenyon purple. For Rubin, the tournament exit does not dampen her gratitude for four years of friendship and camaraderie with the team.

“It’s always said that you don’t remember the game, but the people you played with, and I think that’s very true,” Rubin said. “You know, maybe I’ll remember this game against DePauw — I probably will — but more importantly I’ll remember who I played those games with.”

Across the board, the Ladies felt they played the Tigers as well as they could. “We came back hard and ready to win and go to the championship game,” Archimalo said. Kenyon can hope to capitalize on that championship hunger next season, and while this season just ended, Rubin believes the team will continue winning.

“Some people are disappointed, and that’s to be expected,” Rubin said. “But I think there’s still a lot of potential for next year. Our team is really special. And we want to win.”

Cera and Dominguez, who will return next year as seniors, share Rubin’s confidence. Dominguez believes the disappointing end to their run this year will fuel their play next season. The Ladies will miss the mentorship of Rubin and Gray, but they have youth on their side and hope to grow together. Strong debuts from this season’s first years bode well for Kenyon’s future. They may be out for now, but keep a watchful eye: the Ladies are ready to come roaring back.

“This is the most fun team I’ve been on, the most cohesive,” Cera said. “We’re cutting down the nets next year.”

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