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Owls unable to extend winning ways, fall to Tigers

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — On Saturday afternoon, the Kenyon College women’s basketball team took the court for the first time in 2024, but the Owls could not ring in the new year with a win while playing at Wittenberg University (9-3, 2-0 NCAC). The hosting Tigers took down the Owls 81-37 in the clash of North Coast Athletic Conference combatants.

A pair of Owls posted double-digit scoring totals as Mikayla Rudolph and Claudia Cooke combined for nearly two-thirds of Kenyon’s offensive output. Rudolph led the way with 13 points in a game-high 35 minutes of action. It was the third time in four games that the sophomore scored in double figures, and she impacted other areas with five rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Cooke cleared 10 points for the 12th time in 14 games with 11 points, but the Owls’ leading scorer was held to just a 5-12 (41.7 percent) shooting showing. The senior center showed off her size, garnering game-highs with nine boards and three blocks.

Cooke converted a layup on the game’s opening possession to get the Owls going, and she scored three of the first five points as Kenyon held an early 3-2 edge. However, the Tigers took over the contest from then on, going on an 11-0 run that extended to 19-4 by the end of the opening period.

After an Alyssa Gest free throw opened the second-quarter scoring, Wittenberg outscored Kenyon 24-6 over the second quarter to take a commanding 45-14 lead into the halftime break. The Owls came out of the locker room and played their best quarter, scoring 12 points while holding the home team to 17. Rudolph scored over half her points (7) in the frame, knocking down a triple and four free throws. She finished the game with a career-high six makes at the charity stripe.

The Tigers extended their lead as high as 45 in the final frame, and the home team held an 81-37 margin at the game’s end. Wittenberg shot well overall at 33-73 (45.2 percent), while the Owls struggled to find the mark. Kenyon went 11-39 (28.2 percent) from the floor, 2-11 (18.2 percent) from downtown, and 13-22 (59.1 percent) from the free throw line. 

Wittenberg turned 25 Owls turnovers and a 40-25 rebounding edge into a 16-1 advantage in fastbreak points and a 24-10 margin in points off turnovers. In addition to their rebounding numbers, the Tigers took care of the paint with a 48-18 margin in paint scoring and a 13-0 edge in second-chance points. 

Kenyon (3-11, 1-2 NCAC) will be looking to even their NCAC record when the Owls head to Oberlin, Ohio, to take on Oberlin College (10-3, 1-1 NCAC). The teams tip off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10.

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