DELAWARE, Ohio — The Kenyon College women’s basketball team, the No. 6 seed, outplayed Ohio Wesleyan University (16-10, 10-4 NCAC) through one quarter of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament quarterfinal bout, but the No. 3-seeded Battling Bishops finished the night with a 79-51 victory.
Katie Orefice, the conference’s second-leading scorer, led the Owls in scoring in her final game. The senior set the tone early with nine first-quarter points before finishing with 14 and adding four assists and four rebounds.
Two first-year players followed the veteran’s lead as Mikayla Rudolph and Alyssa Gest finished with 13 and eight points, respectively. The trio scored over two-thirds of the Owls’ points as the team struggled after a 19-point first quarter.
Kenyon’s offense shot the ball well, including a 9-20 clip from three-point range, but the Owls could not maintain possession long enough to get looks on many possessions. Ohio Wesleyan turned Kenyon over 27 times while offering just nine giveaways, propelling the Battling Bishops to a 31-12 edge in points off turnovers and a 42-9 advantage in paint points.
Kasey Schipfer, the NCAC’s leading scorer, was responsible for game-highs of 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals, while Elizabeth Homan went for 15 points, seven assists, seven boards, and three steals.
The Owls started strong with a quick 5-0 run thanks to a steal from Orefice, free throws from Grace Murphy, and a three-pointer from Bela Krslovic after another Ohio Wesleyan turnover. The lead persisted at 7-2, but the Battling Bishops quickly flipped the script thanks to three layups and two Kenyon turnovers over a 39-second stretch to go up 8-7.
Kenyon stayed the course and finished the frame in a back-and-forth battle against OWU. The Owls shot 7-10 from the floor, and 3-4 from downtown, and Orefice took over to finish with a game-high nine first-quarter points. Ohio Wesleyan built a four-point cushion late, but Gest connected from downtown off an assist from Orefice before Orefice closed the quarter with a jumper to give Kenyon a 19-18 edge through 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the Owls, it would be their last lead of the game.
The Battling Bishops quickly turned Kenyon’s lead into a deficit, hitting a second-chance three-pointer on the opening possession before two Owls’ turnovers led to a pair of layups and a 25-19 margin. Missed shots and turnovers plagued Kenyon over the next five-plus minutes, and Ohio Wesleyan extended its lead to 11 at 30-19.
Rudolph finally took the lid off the basket with a triple at the 4:47 mark. Gest made it two straight from downtown to help cut the margin to 31-25 as Kenyon’s 5-7 clip from distance kept the Owls within reach despite shooting 16 fewer field goals than OWU. Rudolph made it a four-point game with two freebies, but the Battling Bishops rattled off a 14-0 run over the next three minutes to go up by 19, taking a 45-27 lead into the halftime break.
Ohio Wesleyan owned the third quarter, scoring 16 of the first 20 points to build a 30-point advantage at 61-31. Rudolph knocked down a triple to finish the frame on a positive note for the Owls, giving the first-year 12 points.
Kenyon scored 17 fourth-quarter points after combining for 15 in the second and third periods, but OWU maintained their pace and closed out the 79-51 win. The Owls finish the season with an 8-18 record, including a 4-10 mark against NCAC foes.