Section: Basketball

Ladies go 2-1, Cooke named National Player of the Week

Ladies go 2-1, Cooke named National Player of the Week

Cooke averaged a double-double over two games. | SEJIN KIM/KENYONSID/NCAA

A tough loss against DePauw University (Ind.) on Nov. 21 left the Kenyon women’s basketball team with a 0-5 record. The Ladies took the holiday break to reassess and nip their losing streak in the bud against Muskingum University on Saturday. Thankfully for them, their hopes came to fruition after an 83-77 Kenyon victory. The very next day, the Ladies built off that momentum and blew out Earlham College (Ind.) 77-35. On Wednesday, the Ladies’ two-game hot streak ended as they lost to Wittenberg University 59-51.

The Muskingum Muskies walked into their matchup at Kenyon with a 4-1 record, meaning this match was no cakewalk for the Ladies. Following the first quarter, the Muskies were up by eight after shooting an impressive 63% from the field with six made 3-pointers. Due to Kenyon’s superior defense, however, Muskingum struggled greatly in the subsequent quarters and turned the ball over 20 times in total, in comparison to Kenyon’s nine giveaways. Katie Orefice ’23 took on the majority of the scoring burden, scoring an astounding 28 points in 40 minutes of play. Claudia Cooke ’24 was equally outstanding, recording a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds along with 3 blocks — this was only the beginning of Cooke’s success. All of Kenyon’s five starters played at least 39 minutes of the 40-minute game. 

The following day, the Ladies gathered again at Tomsich Arena to play the Earlham College Quakers. The match ended up being a blowout after Kenyon outscored Earlham 25-8 in the first quarter, largely due to the Ladies’ monstrous defense. The following quarters ended in similar fashion to the first, with the Quakers unable to convert. While Kenyon shot a solid 40% from the field, Earlham shot 22% on 12 fewer shots. 

Cooke put up terrific numbers for the second night in a row: Her final stat line included 19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks and three assists. She was one of four Ladies who racked up double-digit points in this important statement match. Over these two matches, she averaged 18.5 points, 13 boards, 3.5 blocks on 68% shooting from the field, in addition to playing a pivotal role on defense which statistics cannot fully reflect. Cooke’s superior play did not go unnoticed: She was named NCAC Athlete of the Week and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s National Player of the Week for NCAA Division III. 

Unfortunately, Cooke and the Ladies could not carry their momentum into Wednesday’s game against the Wittenberg University Tigers. Cooke played 29 minutes in Wednesday’s game against Wittenberg but it was Orefice who would lead the Ladies on the court. She racked up a double-double in the game, scoring 20 points and securing 10 rebounds. However, it was not enough, as the Tigers defeated the Ladies by eight points. 

The Tigers scored the first basket and never looked back, building a 19-point lead midway through the second quarter. They would maintain a double-digit lead until the Ladies went on a 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, this late run wasn’t enough to overcome the Tigers, falling to 2-6 on the season.

The Ladies will look to get back in the win column on Saturday as they travel to Meadville, Pa. to take on Allegheny College.

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