GAMBIER, Ohio – The Kenyon College Owls women’s basketball team (2-4) hosted the Earlham College Quakers (1-3) on Tuesday night for the team’s first game since the holiday break and its first win of the season over Defiance.
After a relatively slow offensive game for the first three quarters, the Owls rallied behind a career-high night for sophomore guard Alexis Newman as the team scored 20 points in the fourth to top the Quakers 48-44.
Newman logged 36 minutes for the Owls and scored nine in the second half to finish with 12 total points with two threes, three rebounds and one assist, accounting for a quarter of Kenyon’s points.
Despite the nail-biting finish, both offenses got off to sluggish starts, as Kenyon shot 3-of-17 (16.7 percent), and Earlham shot 3-of-18 (18.8 percent) from the field in the opening quarter. This made possessions and defense much more valuable, and the Owls won that battle early, snagging two steals, grabbing 16 rebounds, and recording one block. After ten minutes played, the Owls were ahead 8-7.
During the latter part of the second, Earlham went on a 9-3 run as Abby Parsons and Nikki Alston had five and four points respectively to send the Quakers up 23-20 after 20 minutes.
In the half, each team took its fair share of threes. The Quakers went 3-for-13 and the Owls hit 4-for-14 from beyond the arc, each squad taking over 40 percent of its shots from three in the first half.
Senior guard Bela Krslovic capitalized on her chances from deep, going 3-for-7 to lead the Owls with nine points. Anissa Hardy added six of her own to keep Kenyon close behind. Coming off of a North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Athlete of the Week Honor, Claudia Cooke was held scoreless in the first half, going 0-for-4 from the field and failing to get to the charity stripe.
After the break, Cooke quickly served up her first points of the night, but the Earlham offense answered by opening up its biggest lead of the game, going up 29-22 at the halfway point in the third.
Closing out the third, the Owls held tough and traded baskets with the Quakers as Grace Murphy and Cook found the bottom of the net to cut the deficit to six. However, in the quarter’s final moments, Cooke heaved up three as time expired but was fouled and sent to the line for three. She then hit two free throws to bring the Quaker lead down to four to start the fourth 32-28.
Kenyon’s offense came to life early into the game’s final quarter, opening up a 9-to-3 run in the first five minutes of the final period. Newman led the charge with seven points in the run and Hardy added two as the Owls went 3-of-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line to take a 37-35 lead.
After an Earlham three knotted the game up at 41, Kenyon had possession with a minute and some change left to play. Newman found the ball on the wing, made a jab-step move to fly past her defender, and hit the go-ahead layup to put the Owls up two with less than a minute to play.
After a Hardy steal on the next possession, Melana Pomerants found the ball and when the Quakers were forced to foul, hit one free throw to put the Owls up 44-41. After a stop and two Cooke free throws extended the lead to 46-41, the Quakers did manage to make a deep three to cut the Kenyon lead to two, but two more clutch Cooke shots from the charity stripe put the game away as the Owls won 48-44.
Newman and Cooke led Kenyon with a dozen points each, with all of Cooke’s points coming in the second half. Krslovic finished with nine and Hardy had eight. Defensively, Hardy grabbed 14 rebounds and added a block as she and Pomerants each swiped two steals.
The Owls’ record improves to 2-4 on the year, and the team looks to build a three-game winning streak in its next matchup against the Case Western Reserve University Spartans on Friday at 7:00 p.m. from Cleveland, Ohio.