Section: Sports

Ladies basketball wins crucial NCAC battle

The Ladies basketball team came away with their third win in a row on Wednesday after defeating Hiram College with a score of 65-55. The team now holds a 15-7 overall record and a 9-5 in-conference record.

This important win also places Kenyon ahead of the Wittenberg University Tigers, who were in third place and also boast a North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) record of 9-5. Even though Kenyon and Wittenberg have the same record, Kenyon holds the tiebreaker because they won both games against the Tigers earlier this season.

Right from tip-off, the Ladies played with a sense of urgency against the Terriers, putting up 20 points in the first quarter on 8 of 18 shots. Paige Matijasich ’20 and Lane Davis ’19 led the team with six points apiece. 3-point specialist Grace Connery ’21 added 12 off the bench.

The second quarter proved to be the most challenging quarter for the Ladies, as they only managed to score just 10 points, four of which came from free throws.

Despite their struggles, the Ladies only entered the third quarter down by a score of 34-30. Regardless, Kenyon found their rhythm after halftime and came out hot: The Ladies scored 35 points over the next two quarters while holding Hiram to only 21 points.

Matijasich and Davis never slowed from their first-quarter performance. Matijasich had another massive game for the Ladies and registered a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds. She scored at an efficient clip, going 8 of 14 from the field for an impressive 57 percent. Davis also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds on the night.

The Ladies were able to dominate Hiram on the boards, grabbing 49 to Hiram’s 36. Defense and rebounding will be instrumental to the team’s success in the tournament. There are a few high-powered offenses in the conference, and in order to make a deep run Kenyon will need to prove they can get stops late in the game.

With only two in-conference games remaining before the NCAC tournament, the Ladies seem to have found their rhythm. In conference they have only lost five games, with two close losses against first-place DePauw University, one tight loss against rival and second-place Denison University, one tight loss at fifth-place Oberlin College and one blowout loss to the Yeowomen at home. If they can take care of business by defeating Ohio Wesleyan University (5-8 NCAC) at home on Feb. 13 and Allegheny College (2-11 NCAC) on the road on Feb. 16, they will clinch a top four spot in the conference.

More importantly, they would host a first-round NCAC tournament game for fourth straight year.

On this 2018-19 team, the Ladies have a frontrunner for NCAC player of the year in Matijasich, a former all-NCAC 2nd team member, Jessica Gerber ’19, and another Lady currently top 11 in the conference in rebounds, blocks, assists and field goal percentage in Davis.

This Ladies team appears to have the pieces to take a serious shot at the NCAC and try to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament for the first time since 2000.

The next game for Kenyon is on Feb. 9, when they will take on the Washington and Jefferson College Presidents at 1 p.m.

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