Section: Basketball

Women’s basketball beats Wooster, struggles in NCAC

Women’s basketball beats Wooster, struggles in NCAC

Rudolph hit double digits in scoring three times. | COURTESY OF GRAHAM STOKES

The Kenyon women’s basketball team hit a tough stretch over winter break, going 1-9 to send the Owls to a 3-14 record (1-5 NCAC) on the season.

The Owls started conference play on Dec. 9, falling at home to the DePauw University Tigers, 59-32. DePauw was thoroughly in control for the duration of the game, holding Kenyon to under 10 points in all four quarters. Claudia Cooke ’24 led the Owls with 18 points, but was the only Kenyon player to score double figures. The Owls also lost guard Alexis Newman ’26, who had started all eight games she had appeared in, to a knee injury that will sideline her for the rest of the year in the contest.

The next day, Kenyon faced Allegheny College (Pa.) in the Owls’ annual Pride Game, losing 64-48. After being outscored in each of the first three quarters, Kenyon doubled up on the Gators in the fourth frame 16-8, but it was too little, too late, and the Owls could not pull off the comeback. Cooke led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Anissa Hardy ’26 dropped 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Mikayla Rudolph ’26 also put in a nice all-around effort with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists.

After finals week, the Owls had another home game, this time against Anderson University (Ind.) on Dec. 16, falling 73-55. Kenyon’s resiliency showed once more, as they found themselves down by 30 after three quarters, but fought back to shrink the Anderson lead in the fourth. However, Kenyon’s 40 turnovers were too big of an obstacle to overcome. Alyssa Gest ’26 led the team with 19 points in her first double-figure game since a knee injury at the end of last season, while Cooke added an additional 13 points.

Kenyon then traveled to Gallatin, Tennessee, for the Music City Classic on Dec. 29 and faced Bowdoin College (Maine) in the first game. The Owls were able to keep it close in the first half, but it was a one-sided affair in the second half, as the Owls dropped their first matchup 69-38. Rudolph was the only Owl to score in double-digits with 13.

The next day, in their second game of the Music City Classic, the Owls faced No. 23 Johns Hopkins University (Md.) and fell by a final score of 82-38. Kenyon was simply outmatched in this one, as they could not handle the Blue Jays’ strong mix of talent and experience. Gest and Cooke paced the Owls with 10 points each.

Kenyon then made its return to Gambier on Jan. 3 in its second conference game of the season, beating Wooster handily 63-44. It was all Owls in this one, as they won every quarter and gave Wooster zero breathing room offensively. Kenyon held the Fighting Scots to just 31% from the field, a clip that Owls head coach Mary Corbett had to be proud of. Cooke led the way once again with a monster effort of 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Gest and Rudolph also chipped in with 13 and 12, respectively.

Kenyon then hit the road to face a tough Wittenberg University team on Jan. 6 and were beaten 81-37. The Tigers’ stifling defense made it almost impossible for the Owls to gain any momentum. Rudolph led the team in points with 13, followed by Cooke, who had 11 to go along with nine rebounds.

Kenyon followed the loss up with another road matchup on Jan. 10, this time at Oberlin College where the Owls lost 61-40. The Yeowomen jumped on the Owls early, but Kenyon showed its resiliency once again, outscoring Oberlin 20-7 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 13. Unfortunately, that was the closest that the Owls could get, as the Yeowomen pulled away with the victory. Cooke was Kenyon’s leading scorer and rebounder with 20 points and eight boards.

On Jan. 13, the Denison University Big Red defeated the Owls 77-53 in Tomsich Arena. Denison, boasting a strong 11-4 record, entered the game intent on securing a seventh-straight victory in the rivalry matchup. But the Owls battled for three quarters, even winning the third. However, the Big Red were just too much as they shut down Kenyon’s offense in the fourth. The Owls saw big performances from their stars, as Cooke had 23 points and nine rebounds and Gest dropped 16 points as well.

Kenyon hasn’t beaten Ohio Wesleyan University since February of 2019, and unfortunately the Wednesday night matchup was no different. The Owls were only able to score five points in each of the first two quarters, entering halftime down 42-10. The 32-point mountain was too much for the Owls to climb, despite outscoring the Battling Bishops in the final frame, as Kenyon lost 68-38.

With just more than a third of the season left to be played, the Owls will next go on the road to take on Hiram College, who sit one spot above Kenyon in sixth place in the conference, on Saturday afternoon. Since the NCAC standings were first recorded in the 2009-10 season, Kenyon has never finished in last place, a streak the Owls will be on track to continue with a win against the Terriers. Then on Wednesday, Kenyon will travel to DePauw University, who are undefeated in conference play.

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