Early Success Not Enough to Stop Kenyon

Rose Stoloff, Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team played one of its toughest competitors last Wednesday evening in a game against the Kenyon College Ladies. Despite a 57–70 loss, the Yeowomen were able to shake the Ladies’ confidence and, up until the last few minutes of the contest, played one of their strongest games of the season.

The Yeowomen had low morale going into the game, coming off a six-game losing streak. To make it worse, Kenyon was ranked as one of the top three teams in the conference.

“We were struggling to bring emotion and excitement to the court,” recalled senior captain Ellen Neumann in reference to the pregame warm-up. “I was nervous to see if we were going to come out with the intensity we need to beat a team like Kenyon.” The Yeowomen began the game with little energy, letting the Ladies take a quick 0–9 lead. After six minutes without scoring, the Yeowomen stepped up their play. Sophomore Christina Marquette led the Yeowomen in scoring, netting 16 points by the close of the half. She also grabbed her tenth double-double of the season.

Marquette’s success was perhaps due in part to her motivation — unlike many of her other teammates, she was excited from the beginning. “I was so focused on the game and so pumped,” she said.

Though the Yeowomen were underdogs, Marquette was confident in the team’s ability to fight. “We proved that the first time we played them at their place,” she said. “I knew if we all did what we were capable of we had potential to win.” The Yeowomen certainly displayed that potential and, following a three-point shot by Marquette in the last five seconds of the first half, held a 31–30 lead over the Ladies at the break. “Looking up at the clock during halftime and seeing that we were up one point on Kenyon was one of the highlights of my season because I don’t think I have ever been up on them at any point in a game,” said Neumann.

Oberlin continued to battle in the second half, and Marquette recalled that the team believed they were going to win the game.

“We hit a stretch at the beginning of the second half when we got down by a few points and just made some phenomenal offensive plays and defensive stops that got us right back on track and up a couple points,” recalled Neumann. Junior Malisa Hoak led the rally, sinking her fourth three-pointer of the night.

The Yeowomen played hard against the Ladies until the very end of the game. With less than five minutes left on the clock, the score was tied 52–52. Unfortunately, the Yeowomen lost much of their traction, allowing Kenyon to steal the victory.

Both Marquette and Neumann, despite the Yeowomen’s loss, agreed the team played a solid game. “I was really proud of the team for about 35 minutes of that game, but unfortunately Kenyon played for 40,” said Neumann.

Marquette echoed that senti- ment, saying, “As a team, this is one of the better games we have played this year, and our greatest weakness was that we couldn’t finish the game. We played with Kenyon for 37 or 38 minutes and then they hit their shots and took care of the ball, and we struggled.” Marquette believed that she was in part responsible for this end-of-the-game lull. “My greatest weakness during the game was that in the last five minutes, I disappeared. I’m one of the main scorers on the team, and the last five minutes of a close game should be when I step up. However, I couldn’t put the ball in the basket, and I didn’t move well enough to get open, so I put my teammates in a difficult position to score,” she said.

The Yeowomen have two more games left in their season, and they are hoping to end on a high note. On Saturday the Yeowomen will play DePauw, the number one team in Division-III basketball. Neumann sees this as a learning opportunity.

“Playing really good teams lets us assess how far our pro- gram has come and sort of fig- ure out where we need to go to become an established team like DePauw or Kenyon,” said Neumann. “Good teams expose our weaknesses, which helps us pinpoint where we need to improve.”

Marquette, too, is looking forward to playing DePauw. “How many times do you get to play the number one team in the country?” she asked. “Well, we get to play them twice.”