Yeowomen Top Big Red, Advance to NCAC Semis


Justin Bank

Sophomore Ally Driscoll looks to make a pass in a 66–52 victory Tuesday against #6 Denison University. The Yeowomen will face #2 Kenyon College in a semifinal matchup today at 7 p.m. in Greencastle, IN.

The women’s basketball team advanced to the North Coast Athletic Conference semifinals for the second year in a row Tuesday, marking their recent and sustained success and giving Head Coach Kerry Jenkins his 100th win with the program. The women’s basketball team triumphed over the Denison University Big Red in the NCAC’s quarterfinal game 66–52 on the home court in front of a large crowd of fired-up fans.

“I would say the feeling I’m having is not predicated on [the win],” Jenkins said. “I think it’s more related to the sense of accomplishment and pride [having] watched the team perform. It was exceptional. We played very hard, had positive energy throughout the team, and I cannot say enough about the representation from the student body. It pushed our game to that next level … that little extra step, that little bit of extra energy.”

Many members of the student body and community lined the stands by the time the opening whistle blew, having come to cheer on this historic Yeowomen squad that set a new program record with 19 wins, as well as take part in the festive giveaways and raffle. Both teams came out of the gate hot. The first quarter was a back and forth battle, as the Yeowomen jumped out to a modest 13–10 lead with two minutes remaining. However, the Big Red retaliated, ending the first quarter with a buzzer-beater and a 16–13 advantage. The second quarter showed an entirely different game. The Big Red could only clinch four points against the Yeowomen’s impenetrable defense, and the Yeowomen’s offense continued to roll as they subsequently managed to break away from their point deficit by finishing the half with a 27–20 lead.

“It’s all about mental reps,” said senior guard Tyler Parlor, who snagged 10 rebounds against Denison. “[It’s about] trying to get our head in the right place, making sure we know all of our coverages [and] know all of our plays, to bring our maturity and experience to the court in these games.”

The two teams seemed to reach a rhythm in the third quarter. Denison struck back against the Yeowomen as best they could, scoring 32 points in the second half and even cutting the deficit to as low as nine, but the Yeowomen had built enough of a lead to coast to a win. The Yeowomen maneuvered through the half with 39 points, finishing with 66 in total. Junior shooting guard Alex Sti- pano carried the offense throughout the semi-final game, amassing 19 points in the second half alone and sinking a career-high 30 points overall.

“I was actually struggling with my shot the past couple of weeks,” Stipano said. “But because I am a shooting guard, I’ve always been told that you just have to keep shooting and it will all just click. Luckily, it was that game — a very important game. I don’t know, it was just a crazy experience, a crazy feeling.”

While the Yeowomen can walk away from the game with plenty of momentum moving forward, they now have to focus their energy toward rival the Kenyon College Ladies, who they will play at DePauw University campus today. Kenyon College beat the College of Wooster Fighting Scots by a whopping 33 points — a staggering 63–30 score — to advance onto the semifinal against Oberlin. Jenkins said that he and the team are not intimidated, however.

“We were very comfortable [in the last game],” he said. “[The] majority of our games are played at a very similar [point] deficit. We play a very methodical game [such] that once we get ahead, it’s tough to come back on us because we defend really well and we execute on the offensive end.”