Case Western Reserve University graduate student forward Kara Hageman scored 12 of her season-high matching 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead a late comeback attempt, but the Spartans ultimately came up short in a 74-62 road loss at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio on Monday night.
The loss was the Spartans' third straight and their first road defeat of the year, as the team dropped to 4-3 overall for the season. Kenyon improved to 7-3 overall with the victory, its second-straight win.
Hageman's 21 points led all CWRU scorers on Monday, as the forward finished the game shooting eight-for-13 overall and two-for-three from long range, while adding five rebounds. Senior guard/ forward Hillary Hellmann added 11 points and six rebounds, while freshman guard Abbey Lawrence paced the team with seven rebounds.
After falling behind 5- 0 in the opening minute, the Spartans stormed back to score eight of the next 10 points, taking an 8-7 lead on a layup by Hageman with 6:27 remaining in the first quarter. However, the Ladies closed the period on a 17-6 run, taking a 24-14 lead into the second quarter, and would see their lead grow to as many as 17 points, 42-25, with 1:37 remaining in the first half. The Spartans scored the final three points of the half on a jumper by freshman guard Alyssa Hyland and a free throw by Hageman to cut the Kenyon lead to 14, 42-28, at halftime.
Hyland led the team at halftime, scoring eight points in 10 minutes of play.
Kenyon took a 21-point lead with 2:04 remaining in the third quarter, but would go the next six minutes without a field goal. The Spartans were able to take advantage, trimming the lead to 61-42 by the end of the third quarter, and opening the fourth on a 12-1 run, pulling back within single digits, 62-54, on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Emily Todd with 6:25 to play. Kenyon would rebuild its lead to 13 points, but the Spartans would chip away at the advantage again, pulling back to within eight on back-to-back layups by Hellmann and Hageman that made the score 70-62 with 3:51 remaining. That would be as close as the Spartans would get though, as the Ladies scored the final four points in the game to lock up the double-digit win.
The Spartans outshot Kenyon 42.6% to 36.6% from the floor in the game, but CWRU's 12 turnovers and 19 second chance points allowed, and Kenyon's 11 three-pointers to the Spartans' six ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Paige Matijasich finished with a game-high 24 points for Kenyon, while Grace Connery added 17 points on Monday.
The Spartans will have the next nine days off for finals, before traveling to Florida for the 2018 HOOP MIA Holiday Slam. Case Western Reserve will open play at the tournament against Thiel College on Wednesday, December 19th at 12:00 p.m. in Miami Shores.