Four Spartans scored in double figures, including graduate student forward Kara Hageman and senior guard/ forward Hillary Hellmann, who each registered double-doubles, leading the Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team to a 71-59 win over Thiel College in the team's opening game at the 2018 HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout in Miami Shores, Florida on Wednesday at the Barry University Health and Sports Center.
The win put an end to a three-game slide for the Spartans, who improved to 5-3 overall for the season. Thiel dropped to 2-8 on the campaign with the loss.
Graduate student forward Mercedes Jones led all CWRU players in the game with 14 points, shooting five-of-13 overall and adding six rebounds and a pair of blocks. Hellmann added 13 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks in the game, while Hageman finished the contest with 10 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Freshman guard Alyssa Hyland connected on three three-pointers during the game and ended the day with 13 points.
Hellmann's double-double was her third of the season and the 14th of her career, while Hageman secured her 13th career double-double and the third of her season. It marked the second time this year that each member of the duo has notched a double-double in the same game, and the fifth time over their careers.
Eight different players scored for the Spartans during the team's 22-point opening quarter. Case Western Reserve trailed 8-3, before going on a 13-0 run, which was bookended by three-point shots by Hellmann. Freshman guard Abbey Lawrence hit a shot to give the Spartans their largest lead of the period, 20-10, and CWRU closed out the first quarter with a 22-15 lead. Thiel chipped away at the Spartans' lead in the second quarter and tied the game at 28-28 on a three-pointer by Jess Vormelker with 6:27 to play. The Tomcats led by as many as four, 32-28, before a 7-2 run put the Spartans back ahead 35-34 after an offensive rebound and layup by Hageman with 1:58 remaining in the half. However, the Spartans would not score again in the half, and a pair of free throws gave Thiel a one-point lead, 36-35, after 20 minutes of play.
After exchanging leads early on in the second half, a three-pointer by Hyland put the Spartans ahead 40-39 with 7:08 to play. A 7-0 run over a two-minute stretch later in the quarter helped the Spartans take an eight-point lead, 52-44, with 2:18 remaining in the third, and would end the period with a 54-46 advantage over the Tomcats. CWRU opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back layups by Jones and Hyland to extend their lead to 12 points, 58-46, with 9:02 remaining in the game. CWRU held Thiel scoreless over the first three and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, taking advantage of the Tomcats' drought to build its lead to as many as 16 points, 62-46, on a layup by sophomore forward Emma Cain with 7:40 left. The Spartans maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game, en route to the 12-point win, the team's second-highest margin of victory this season.
CWRU was dominant in the paint on Wednesday, outscoring Thiel 40-14 from close range, and held a 23-5 advantage over the Tomcats in fast break points. The Spartans held a 37.7% to 25.8% edge in field goal percentage in the game, and finished the contest shooting 81.3% (13-of-16) from the free throw line.
Destiny Johnson led Thiel with 18 points in the game, while Rachel Breckenridge came off the bench to score 15, and Jess Vormelker added 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Spartans will wrap-up play at the HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. against Eastern University.