MEADVILLE, Pa. — Facing the Allegheny College Gators for the first time since they departed the North Coast Athletic Conference, the Kenyon College women’s basketball team did whatever it could to counter a big third-quarter run from the Gators, but came up just short in a 63-61 defeat Sunday afternoon.
The game featured eight lead changes and three tied scores, but it was an Allegheny 18-0 run in the third quarter that held up as the difference in the game. With Kenyon leading by seven points (36-29), the host Gators went on a five-minute outburst that gave them a 47-36 advantage. Ending the run, a three-pointer from Alexis Newman halted Kenyon’s scoreless drought, which lingered for more than six minutes and resulted in the Owls facing a 51-40 deficit heading into the final quarter of play.
Kenyon, now with a 5-12 record, did find a way to recuperate and chipped away at the Allegheny advantage. With 4:29 left in the game, Claudia Cooke completed a three-point play to pull the Owls within five at 60-55. Two possessions later, Cooke popped in a layup and moved Kenyon within three points. Then, with 1:08 left, Katie Orefice connected on a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, at 62-61.
The Owls had two more possessions to win the game, but they missed a shot and were called for an offensive foul. Emily Lauer tacked on a free throw for the Gators and time expired as Kenyon heaved a desperation shot that was off the mark.
Back in the first quarter, points were difficult to come by as both teams played lock-down defense. Kenyon was just 4-of-15 shooting, while Allegheny was 4-of-18. The Gator defense also coaxed Kenyon into seven turnovers, but the Owls overcame the miscues and took their first lead of the game when Alyssa Gest drained a three-pointer with 1:09 on the clock.
In the second quarter, both offenses started to find their rhythm. Allegheny jumped ahead by scores of 17-12 and 19-13, but Kenyon looked to Cooke for an answer. She responded with eight points in the frame and helped direct a 13-6 run that put the Owls back in front, 26-25. Bela Krslovic then added a three-pointer and Kenyon took a 31-29 lead into the break.
Cooke, Krslovic and Anissa Hardy carried the bulk of the offensive load for Kenyon. Cooke scored 22, Hardy notched 11 and Krslovic tallied nine. Both Cooke and Hardy finished with double-doubles, as Cooke latched on to 13 boards and Hardy grabbed 11.
On the other side, Lauer finished with 22 for the Gators, who improved to 10-8.
The Owls shot a season-high 88.0 percent (22-of-25) at the free throw line and out-rebound the Gators 49-39.
Kenyon returns home and back to conference action with its next game scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday against Hiram College.