GAMBIER, Ohio — Alyssa Gest scored a game-high 25 points and Katie Orefice tacked on 18 more as the Kenyon College women’s basketball team led wire-to-wire in Tuesday night’s 68-59 non-conference victory over the Penn State Shenango Lions.
Gest, a first-year guard, has now led the Owls in scoring twice over the last three games. Against Shenango, her point total was a personal season-high and was produced by a 9-of-14 night from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 showing at the free throw line. From behind the three-point arc, Gest was 3-of-5. She also had three rebounds, three assists and two steals included on her stat line.
Orefice, a senior guard who leads the team with a scoring average of 14.6 points per game, tallied her 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. She hit one three-pointer in four tries and hit one free throw in four tries. Additionally, Orefice contributed six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Defensively, Claudia Cooke and Anissa Hardy made their presence known in the paint. Cooke, a junior center, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots. Hardy, a first-year center, racked up a game-high 13 rebounds and swatted away three Tiger shots.
As a team, Kenyon reached season-highs in points (68), rebounds (48), assists (15) and blocked shots (8). The Owls shot 40.6 percent (26-of-64), while holding Shenango to 31.9 percent (22-of-69).
From the start, Kenyon built a small cushion and never looked back. Bela Krslovic started the contest with a three-pointer and Gest followed with a layup for a quick 5-0 edge. At the midway point of the first quarter, Gest and Mikayla Rudolph buried back-to-back three-balls to extend Kenyon’s lead to nine points. Gest, who had nine points in the quarter, rang up the last two of the frame, giving Kenyon a 19-6 advantage after 10 minutes of play.
Kenyon never led by more than 13 in the first half. Shenango cut the lead down to five points in the early stages of the second quarter, but the Owls quickly regained control and got to halftime with a 40-30 advantage.
In the third quarter, Orefice dropped in back-to-back layups to give Kenyon a 52-36 lead with 4:32 left on the clock. The 16-point margin held up for the rest of the quarter and the teams went into the fourth with Kenyon ahead 58-42.
The Owls then moved ahead by 18, but Shenango did not go away quietly. The Lions reeled off a 12-2 run to make the Owls a little more uncomfortable than they thought they would be.
With under two minutes to play, the Lions inched within seven points, but a jumper from Gest pushed the lead back to nine and a layup from Hardy finished off the game.
The win moved Kenyon’s record to 2-5, while the loss dropped Shenango to 7-2. Next up for the Owls is a home game Saturday against Penn State Behrend. Tip-off for that contest is slated for 1 p.m.