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Owls topped by Tigers to close season

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The No. 7 seed Kenyon College women’s basketball team traveled to Springfield, Ohio on Tuesday night for the opening round of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament against the No. 2 seed Wittenberg University Tigers. 

Despite a solid start on both sides of the ball led by senior center Claudia Cooke, the Owls could not sustain the effort outside of the game’s opening minutes, eventually falling 80-39.

To open the contest, the Owls came out with a spark that was headed up by the team’s leading scorer in her final game for Kenyon. Cooke scored four straight points on two turnaround layups and grabbed an offensive rebound on the next possession to find Raine Hammel, who drained a three to put Kenyon ahead 7-0 with six minutes to play in the first. 

After the early lead, Wittenberg, currently ranked second in offense and fourth in defense in the NCAC, lived up to its conference ranking and rattled off an 11-2 run to put the Tigers ahead for the first time. Later in the quarter, Cooke carved up the defense and drew a foul on a made layup, but the Owls deficit stood at 21-11 after 10 minutes.

Cooke added five more in the second quarter to cap off her game-high 11 first half points, but the conference’s top-shooting Tigers would go on to shoot 61.3 percent from the floor in the first half to open up a 50-19 halftime lead.

In the second half, Wittenberg’s relentless attack would not wane, never allowing Kenyon to mount a comeback, leading 69-29 after three quarters. To close the game, Anissa Hardy reached double figures while leading the team in rebounding, and Cooke continued to put up points, even hitting her first three-pointer of the year. However, the Tigers proved too tough to tame, eventually topping the Owls 80-39.

Cooke finished the contest with a game-high 17 points, added seven boards and led the squad with three assists. Hardy had a strong second half to end with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Alyssa Gest also chipped in seven points.

The loss closes Kenyon’s 2023-2024 campaign, setting its overall record at 3-23, including a 1-14 mark against conference opponents.

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