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DU women pull away in second half to defeat Kenyon

Alison Schafer  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Alison Schafer | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Thanks to a game-high 17 points from junior Alison Schafer, Denison women's basketball secured a 55-46 victory over Kenyon College on Thursday night at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

Holding the Ladies to 26 percent from the floor and outrebounding the opposition 45-37 for the night, the Big Red countered with 37 percent from the field, including 6-of-12 in the third quarter where they outscored Kenyon 16-10.

Leading KC 36-32 with 2:48 remaining in the third, a turnover by Kenyon's Kiele Anderson gave the ball back to the Big Red where Schafer found Lauren Hofer for one of her four baskets on the night to put DU in front by six with less than two minutes to play in the quarter.

Schafer capped off the third with a jumper that ended the frame on a 5-0 scoring run for Denison as they entered the fourth with a 40-32 lead.

The Big Red led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter and carried a 47-34 advantage with 4:39 left to play. At the 3:22 mark, KC's Paige Matijasich turned a Denison foul into two made free throws, and after Aliyah Hunter connected on a tip-in layup 14 seconds later, the ball went back to the Ladies where Ellie Schaub tallied a pair at the charity stripe to cut DU's lead to 11, 49-38, with 2:54 remaining.

On the next possession, Kenyon's Jessica Gerber stole the ball away from the Big Red and assisted Matijasich on her second three-pointer of the game, helping shrink KC's deficit to single digits, 49-41.

Leading by eight with 2:41 left in the game, Denison stayed aggressive on offense in their next possession when Addie Buzas sent a pass to Hofer in the low-post where she laid it in off the glass for her final bucket of the night.

Following a three from Grace Connery that dropped Kenyon's deficit to seven, 51-44, with less than two minutes remaining, both sides were unable to connect on their next two possessions before DU's Valesha Province was fouled with 23 seconds to play. Province buried both of her attempts and put Denison ahead by nine.

Coming out of Kenyon's 30-second timeout, Matijasich tallied her ninth point of the fourth quarter, but a pair of free throws from Zyah Beal iced the victory for the Big Red as Denison improved to 7-6 on the season and 3-2 in the NCAC. The loss dropped Kenyon to 9-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play.

Leading Kenyon for nearly 35 minutes of play, the Big Red outscored the Ladies in the paint 26-12 and capitalized on second-chance points, 22-7. Schafer led DU with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 3-of-7 from three. Province and Lauren Longbrake added 11 points each, while Longbrake also chipped in a team-high nine rebounds. Hofer finished with eight points and five rebounds while Hunter posted four assists and seven boards.

Matijasich finished with a team-best 14 points and nine rebounds. Schaub tallied eight points and Connery chipped in nine.

The Big Red have won five out of their last six games and will return to Livingston Gymnasium on Saturday, January 5 when they host Ohio Wesleyan University at 1 p.m.