Unfortunately, the Kenyon men’s and women’s basketball teams both concluded their 2022 season on a disappointing note this week. The Ladies, after a narrow loss to Hiram College 72-71, suffered a heartbreaking loss to Oberlin College 61-59 in the NCAC postseason tournament. The Lords, on the other hand, fell to No. 20 Wabash College 98-75 in their final game of the regular season.
Coming off an NCAC victory against Hiram, the Lords hoped to end their season on a high note and secure another win, but Wabash, with a daunting 21-3 record, was too formidable an opponent.
In the first half of the contest, the match stayed quite even due to Kenyon’s impressive shooting: They sank more than half of their 3-point attempts (56%) and overall field goal attempts (53%). Despite their strong start, Wabash pulled ahead by 10 points following the halftime break, due to a series of unfortunate Kenyon turnovers, helping Wabash build a big lead on their way to victory. The Lords ended the 2022 season with a 3-22 record, going 1-17 in conference play.
The Ladies’ Senior Day matchup proved to be a thrilling one, but ultimately did not land in Kenyon’s favor. Both the Terriers and Ladies needed a quarter to get the ball rolling offensively, but after that, both teams played very well on that side of the ball. Despite not having made any triples in the first quarter, the Ladies shot 66% from distance in the second quarter, accounting for more than half of their 22 points during that period. After a halftime break and another quarter of play, the game was tied 50-50 going into the fourth.
Following a small run by the Terriers to open the period, Katie Orefice ’23 drove to the basket and finished quickly in the paint, starting a back-and-forth offensive run between the two teams. The clock wound down rapidly, with each team trading buckets and neither taking a significant lead. With Hiram up by six, the largest lead of the fourth quarter by either team, a 3-pointer from Grace Connery ’22 and a layup from Orefice got the Ladies to within one. A pair of clutch free throws put Hiram up three with only a few seconds left, but Madelyn Anderson ’22 sank a three to tie it up in the waning seconds. In response, following a timeout, the Terriers earned a controversial foul on the Ladies, earning the visitors two free throws. Hiram missed the first free throw, but the second went through, sealing Kenyon’s fate.
Only a few days later, Kenyon went on to play in the first round of the NCAC postseason tournament as the No. 7 seed against No. 2 Oberlin. The Yeowomen have been particularly impressive this season, boasting a 13-3 record in the NCAC. The Ladies struggled early in the contest against their NCAC rivals, scoring only 24 points in the half, with a 25% field-goal percentage and 25% free-throw percentage.
Even after both teams returned to the court for the second half, the Yeowomen were able to stretch their lead to 17 points, but the game was far from over. Forward Claudia Cooke ’24 went on a solo six-point run to bring the game close, and Connery contributed important buckets as well, putting Kenyon on Oberlin’s heels. The Ladies were also buoyed by two 16-point performances from Connery and Orefice, along with Cooke’s impressive 14 rebounds. Ultimately for the Ladies, the miraculous comeback was for naught: In the final seconds, the Yeowomen were able to collect an and-one bucket and a free-throw bucket to put them up by two and emerge victorious 61-59. At the end of the 2022 season, the Ladies’ record stood at 6-20, with a record of 4-12 in conference play.