WILMINGTON, Ohio - Kenyon College saw its 15-point lead dwindle to just three points, but Ladies held on to defeat the Wilmington College women's basketball team 65-57 in the championship game of the Damon's/Hampton Inn Tip-Off Classic held at Hermann Court on Sunday.
"Once we get together and do what we are supposed to do, we are going to be just fine," Head Women's Basketball Coach Jerry Scheve said. "What we need to do is all correctable. We have what it takes to be a good basketball team."
Kenyon outscored Wilmington 16-9 in the first quarter and led by as many as 13 in the first half. A McKayla Binkley layup proved to be the final basket of the first half as the Ladies, which held the Quakers to under 31 percent shooting in each of the first two quarters, took a 34-23 lead into halftime.
A Bridget Molnar jumper at the 3:27 mark of the third quarter put Kenyon ahead 36-31, but the Ladies would see their double-digit lead nearly come crashing down. A 7-0 run from the Quakers capped by a triple from Savannah Hooper got Wilmington within eight, but a Jessica Gerber off-balance jumper at the buzzer put Kenyon up 48-38 after three quarters.
Three points from Faith Teaford opened the quarter for Wilmington to get the hosts within five, but Lane Davis ended the Wilmington run with a basket. Several minutes later, Teaford nailed a three-pointer at the 4:15 mark to pull the Quakers within two points at 53-51. Once again, however, Kenyon answered with a basket.
Trailing 55-51, Michelle Lee took a pass from Teaford and hit jumper to get within two points once again, and after a defensive stop, Wilmington got the ball back with a chance to tie the game for the first time since the opening tip or even take a lead. Unfortunately for the Quakers, Hooper's potential go-ahead triple was off target, and Kenyon got its own miss and Grace Connery nailed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, giving the Ladies a five-point. After a stop, Davis converted a layup to put the game out of reach.
"Kenyon is a solid team that really executes its offense," said Scheve. "I thought we did a better job defensively in the second half, but they still shot the ball well enough to win."
Kenyon finished 27-of-60 (45.0 percent) from the field including a 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) mark from three-point range and a 5-of-10 (50.0 percent) performance from the free throw line. Wilmington countered with 21-of-58 (36.2 percent) from the field, 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) from beyond the three-point arc and 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) from the charity stripe.
Individually, Kennedy Lewis was the lone Quaker to finish in double figures in scoring with 14 points and three rebounds. Kelly Noll added nine points, seven rebounds and three assists while McKayla Binkley had nine points and dished out five assists.
Four Ladies – Jessica Gerber, Paige Matijasich, Connery and Davis – finished in double figures in scoring. Davis added 13 rebounds to help Kenyon win the rebounding battle 40-35.
Matijasich took home All-Classic Team Most Valuable Player honors while Davis, Noll and Lewis earned sports on the All-Classic Team. Kate Balcom was Grove City College's honoree.
Wilmington (1-1) hosts the Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament next weekend.