The Case Western Reserve University women's basketball opened 2019 with a victory on Wednesday night, claiming its third-straight win with an 86-76 triumph over Wooster College in Wooster, Ohio.
The Spartans now stand at 7-3 overall this season, while Wooster dropped to 4-9 following the loss.
Graduate student forward Kara Hageman led the Spartans with 19 points and seven rebounds, shooting seven-of-15 overall and adding three assists and a pair of steals. Junior guard Kendall McConico shot five-of-six from the floor and finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Freshman guard Abbey Lawrence came off the bench to score 13 points with five rebounds and two blocks, and sophomore forward Emma Cain, making her first start of the year, chipped in 11 points and six boards.
The Spartans struggled to knock down their three-point tries in the opening quarter, converting just one-of-seven attempts in the frame, and an 8-2 run to close the period by the Fighting Scots pushed their lead to 25-19 by the end of the opening stanza. The Spartans would trail by as many as nine points, before Hageman and McConico spurred the team to a lead by halftime, combining for 16 points in the period. McConico scored the Spartans' first six points of the period, helping CWRU cut Wooster's lead down to three points, 30-27, by the 6:31 mark. With 5:19 remaining, Hageman rallied off eight-straight points to put the Spartans' in front 35-33 with 2:59 to play, and after a layup by Wooster evened the score, CWRU closed out the period on a 7-0 run to build their largest lead of the opening half, 42-35, heading into the break. The Spartans outscored the Scots 23-10 in the second period.
A layup by Hageman and an and-one by Cain helped put the Spartans ahead by 12, 47-35, just a minute into the third period. A three-pointer by Lawrence helped push the Spartans' lead back to 12, 53-41, with 5:44 to go in the period, and later in the quarter, a 6-0 run, started by a three-pointer from freshman guard Alyssa Hyland, gave the Spartans a 61-46 lead with 2:35 remaining in the third. Wooster closed the distance back to eight points on a jumper with seven seconds left, but graduate student forward Mercedes Jones provided a quick answer for CWRU, knocking down a layup at the buzzer to give the team a double-digit lead, 63-53, heading into the fourth quarter.
CWRU would hold Wooster to just one field goal over the final eight minutes of the game, as the Spartans built their lead to as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter. Good free throw shooting by Wooster kept CWRU from running away late, before a pair of layups in the final 90 seconds by Lawrence allowed the Spartans to lock-up the win.
CWRU finished the game shooting 47.7% (31-of-65) from the floor, the team's second-highest mark of the season, en route to the team's third effort of 80 or more points in 2018-19.
Wooster's Anna Gibbs led four Scots' players in double-figures on Wednesday with 18 points in the game.
Case Western Reserve will now turn its attention to the start of conference play, as the team will kick off its University Athletic Association schedule against Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday, January 5th at 2:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.