The Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team jumped out to an early double-digit lead on Friday night in Gambier, Ohio, and held on for a 76-70 win against Kenyon College, the team's fifth-straight win.
The Spartans now stand at 7-2 overall on the season, and the team's five-game winning streak is the longest since a five-game run during the 2012-13 season. Kenyon dropped to 6-3 overall on the year with the loss, the Ladies first home setback in four tries this season.
Junior forward Kara Hageman led the team with 24 points in the game, shooting eight-for-13 overall from the field and two-for-three from long range. Senior guard Jess McCoy added 20 points on a six-for-10 effort from the field, connecting on a pair of three-pointers as well.
The Spartans started hot from the field for the second-straight game, connecting on nine-of-10 attempts from the field in the first quarter, including five-for-five tries from long range, en route to the highest-scoring period in the program's history. Hageman led the way for the Spartans with 12 points in the period, connecting on all four of her shots (including a pair of three-point tries), and a three-pointer by McCoy to end the quarter gave Case Western Reserve a 17-point advantage, 32-15, at the end of the opening quarter.
CWRU quickly expanded its lead in the second quarter with a steal and a layup by Hageman and a layup by McCoy, and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Alexis Amburgey with 7:23 remaining gave CWRU its largest lead of the half, 39-17. The Spartans closed out the half with an 18-point advantage, 44-26, behind 14 points from Hageman, 11 from McCoy and a seven-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc by the team over the first 20 minutes of play. Meanwhile, the Spartans defense restricted Kenyon to just one made three-pointer on nine attempts in the first half, and just 32.3% shooting (10-for-31) overall.
The Spartans took a 19-point lead on a three-pointer by sophomore forward Hillary Hellmann with 6:55 remaining in the third that expanded the CWRU advantage to 51-32. However, Kenyon would trim the lead to eight points by the end of the quarter, 62-54, and would pull within four, 67-63, before a three-pointer by McCoy with 4:55 to play extended the CWRU lead back to seven. The Ladies remained within striking distance, and a three-pointer by Bailey Dominguez brought, followed by a steal with 24 seconds remaining gave Kenyon a chance to hold for a game-tying shot, down 72-70. However, Miranda Diesz missed a layup with 17 seconds left and McCoy and Hageman each hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to clinch the CWRU victory.
Case Western Reserve shot 47.9% from the field overall in the game (23-for-48), including a 10-for-21 mark from long range (10-for-21), and made 20-for-24 shots from the free throw line, good for an 83.3% mark.
Dominguez and Charlotte Bussema led all Kenyon scorers with 13 points each in the game.
The Spartans will now have the next 20 days off from competition, as the team breaks for finals and the holidays. Case Western Reserve will return to action at the Capital University Holiday Tournament, opening play at the event against the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater on Thursday, December 29th at 5:00 p.m. in Bexley, Ohio.