Section: Basketball

Owls fall short against Fighting Scots, Battling Bishops

Owls fall short against Fighting Scots, Battling Bishops

Murphy scored 12 points against Wooster. I SEJIN KIM/SID/NCAA

With the end of the regular season in sight, the Kenyon women’s basketball team took on The College of Wooster on Saturday, falling 49-55 in a tightly contested matchup. On Wednesday, the Owls fell to 3-20 (1-11 NCAC) after a 76-34 loss to the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops.

After defeating Wooster in January, Kenyon hoped to replicate its only conference win of the season and started off on the right foot. The Owls and the Fighting Scots went blow for blow in the first quarter. Kenyon’s three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes kept them on pace as the first quarter ended 16-15 in Wooster’s favor. However, by halftime the Owls jumped out to a 30-22 lead, thanks in part to Grace Murphy ’26’s clutch three with 13 seconds remaining in the quarter. Defensively, Kenyon held Wooster to just six points, grabbing 11 defensive rebounds in the process.

In the third frame, the Owls held onto their lead, but fatigue began to set in as time went on. Out of the eight available Owls available to play, six played 20 or more minutes due to Kenyon’s struggles with injuries. In an email to the Collegian, Murphy described how the team has embodied a next-person-up mentality. “Our already small team has been riddled with injuries this season, which has made for different people having to step up in different games. Going into this game against Wooster, I knew I had to be more of a contributor on the offensive side so, from the start of the game, I had more of an attacking mentality,” she said. “I am always working to contribute to the team in [whatever] way we need.”

In the fourth quarter, the Fighting Scots stormed back, tying the game up at 41 as both teams continued to trade baskets. With just over a minute left to play, a crucial foul sent Wooster to the line and gave the Fighting Scots a one-point lead. From there, the Owls could not capitalize on their last possession and were forced to foul until the final buzzer rang. Despite shooting a season-best 50% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc as a team, the Owls ultimately fell 55-49. Claudia Cooke ’24, who leads the team in scoring, scored 15 on the night and collected eight boards. Alongside Cooke, Murphy scored a career-best 12 points in her first double-digit showing as an Owl, as well as six rebounds.

Murphy also detailed how she and her teammates have adjusted to the team’s challenges over the course of the season. “Our team has a lot of young pieces, which has allowed for a lot of growth and learning this year,” she wrote. “While our team’s identity and goals have remained the same this year, we have had a lot of different people play a wide variety of different roles. So people’s ability to quickly learn plays from different positions or figure out how to defend various positions has improved greatly.”

During the week, the Owls traveled to face Ohio Wesleyan, who sat in second place in the NCAC standings. Kenyon struggled offensively for much of the game and entered halftime down 34-14. Cooke led the team in scoring once again, shooting 9-12 from the field with 20 points. The Owls, shorthanded once again, scored four points off the bench as opposed to the Battling Bishops’ 17. In the end, the Battling Bishops proved too much to handle and came away with the 76-34 win.

Looking ahead, Murphy is confident that the team can continue to be competitive: “I think our team can continue to work to use each other’s strengths to aid our success. We have a team of players that can all contribute in different ways. Once we are able to play to our strengths for all four quarters we are going to see a lot of success which is exciting.”

Next, the Owls will travel to Granville, Ohio, to take on Denison University in the penultimate game of the season on Saturday.

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