PAINESVILLE, OH – It wasn’t easy for the Kentucky Wesleyan Women’s Basketball team on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 28, but they got it done, fending off a late Lake Erie comeback to take down the Storm by a score of 81-77.
Down by 10 at the half, Lake Erie cut it to three with a minute and a half remaining in the game, but Wesleyan buckled down on a defense and hit their free throws to secure the win.
Kentucky Wesleyan has won nine straight and now sits at 16-4 (12-1 G-MAC), while Lake Erie sits at 7-12 (3-10 G-MAC).
The Storm led 10-5 early in the opening quarter before Jordyn Barga hit two threes in a row to keep Wesleyan in it. Tied 17-17 with 1:24 left, Barga hit two free throws and Tahlia Walton put in an and-1 to give the Panthers a 22-17 lead after one.
Wesleyan quickly pushed their lead to eight in the second quarter off a three from Shaylee McDonald and a layup by Reeva Hammelman. With three minutes remaining in the half, Shiya Hoosier made a layup to give the Panthers an 11-point advantage, their first double-digit lead of the game. Lake Erie hit a layup late but Wesleyan still took a 41-31 lead into the locker room.
Lake Erie came out charging in the third, hitting four of their first five shots and cutting the lead to 45-43 just four minutes into the frame. Back-to-back threes from McDonald and Barga stopped the Lake Erie run, and a Hadley Lytton layup a few minutes later extended the Panther’s lead back to nine, 56-47. LEC made their final three shots of the quarter and KWC took a 64-57 lead into the final 10 minutes of the game.
The teams went back-and-forth for the first half of the final quarter, with Wesleyan taking a 78-70 lead on a Cali Nolot layup with 4:44 to go in the game. Lake Erie responded, going on a 5-0 run to make it just a three point game with a minute and a half remaining. Corina Conley picked up a huge steal in the final minute and both she and Hoosier hit free throws to seal the win for the good guys.
Wesleyan shot 28-61 (45.9%) from the field and 7-16 (43.8%) from three. Lake Erie shot 29-54 (53.7%) from the floor and 7-16 (43.8%) from three. Turnovers were the difference in the ballgame, as Kentucky Wesleyan forced Lake Erie into 25 turnovers, compared to just 16 themselves.
Shaylee McDonald poured in a career high 19 points on an efficient 6-10 (3-6 from three) shooting. Cali Nolot (16), Tahlia Walton (14), and Jordyn Barga (11) all finished in double figures. Barga dished out six assists while Corina Conley led with eight boards. Shiya Hoosier tied a career high with six steals, good for a tie for fourth all-time in a game in KWC history.