The Oberlin Review

Yeowomen Break Program Wins Record Against Kenyon

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The Yeowomen broke the 15-win program record set by the 1998–99 team and the record for North Coast Athletic Conference wins Wednesday, besting their rival Kenyon College Ladies in a 47–39 defensive battle. At 16–6, and 11–2 in conference, the Yeowomen — who are riding an eight-game win streak — stand third in the NCAC with just three games to go in the regular season.

Head Coach Kerry Jenkins, who has spent 10 years with the program, recognized his team’s resiliency in a game where both teams could not get shots to fall.

“It was a tough conference battle,” Jenkins said. “Both teams played really hard. It wasn’t a high offensive production game, but defensively both teams locked and got aggressive. I’m really proud of our players for just sticking with it and being able to gut it out in the end.”

Right from the tip-off, both defenses were stifled; the first quarter ended with the Yeowomen leading 10–9. Offensively, however, the Yeowomen could not get into rhythm. Junior guard Alex Stipano, who leads the NCAC in points per game with 14.7, went just 1–7 on the game, scoring only four points. Perhaps their only saving grace came from the free-throw line, in which junior center Olivia Canning — who led the team with 15 points — went 7–7. However, after opening the second quarter with a 13–6 run, the Ladies entered the halftime with a 25–20 lead.

While the offense lagged, Stipano credited the win to the team’s resilience and defense.

“We went into the game really wanting the win,” Stipano wrote in an email to the Review. “Although our offense was struggling a bit, we managed to execute our defensive principles very well, which allowed us to come out on top.”

It was not until there was 6:57 left in the game that the Yeowomen were able to regain the lead off a layup from Canning, holding it for the first time since early in the second quarter. From there, the team was able to take control, leading to a decisive 47–39 win. Despite shooting 30 percent from the floor, their holding to a season low 27 percent shooting percentage represented the work ethic that the Yeowomen have maintained from last season’s NCAC tournament semi-final exit.

Sophomore forward Maggie Gross said that the strength of Wednesday’s game against the Ladies could not have been developed without their winter break run.

“Yesterday was a really important game, and the team stepped up to the challenge,” Gross said. “We really came together on defense and we did what we needed to do down the stretch. This was a result of a lot of hard work during Winter Term.”

Entering Winter Term 6–2, the Yeowomen closed out the calendar year at the Pikes Peak Holiday Classic in Colorado Springs, CO. Although they dropped both games — first to the Illinois Wesleyan University Titans 72–52 and second to the Colorado College Prowlers 67–58 — the Yeowomen then turned to dominate a 14-game stretch, winning nine games, six of which were against conference opponents. While breaking the program wins record may have been a historic milestone, Jenkins believes that his team has set their sights on the greater goal of winning a conference championship.

“I think they’re really focused on the conference tournament and pulling out some victories late in the season,” Jenkins said. “Of course, they know it’s there, but they aren’t too fazed about what it means. This team has really high expectations.”

The Yeowomen now prepare for their matchup against the Wittenberg University Tigers tomorrow at 1 p.m. in Philips gym, which will begin a three-game stretch of NCAC matchups leading up to the tournament.

“We treat every game the same,” Jenkins said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Wittenberg in our conference or [the Alfred University Saxons] out of conference. Right now, we’re just laser focused on our objective. They are just locked in to what their abilities are and what they can accomplish. As a coach, it’s just fun to watch — the toughness, the resilience, the comraderies. Regardless of if we achieve our goal, I’m extremely proud of this team.”

 

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