Senior post Cierra Joiner scored 9 points during the second quarter as the Ohio Wesleyan women’s basketball team built a double-digit lead, and the Bishops withstood a furious Mount Union comeback to take a 64-59 win during the second day of the Bishop Classic/Hoops for Hope tournament on Thursday at Branch Rickey Arena.
In Thursday’s opener, Wilmington defeated Mount Aloysius by a count of 63-47.
Wins by Mount Union and Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday made Thursday’s pre-arranged matchup between the teams the de facto championship game, and both teams played rugged defense during the first quarter. A free throw by senior post Molly Delaney broke a 9-9 tie with 4:10 remaining in the period, and neither team would score again until a Delaney jumper just over a minute into the second quarter.
Joiner then took over, hitting a free throw and back-to-back buckets to stretch the lead to 17-11, then adding a hoop and assisting on a 3-pointer by sophomore point guard Elizabeth Homan. A lay-in by freshman wing Karlee Ross stretched the Bishop lead to 27-17 late in the period.
The Purple Raiders closed to within 29-21 on a pair of free throws by Emma Canyon with :04 to play, but sophomore guard Lauren Denison beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer from just inside mid-court to give Ohio Wesleyan a 32-21 lead at the intermission.
Ohio Wesleyan extended its lead to 40-24 on a steal and lay-in by sophomore guard Kasey Schipfer at the 6:26 mark of the third quarter, and the Bishops still led by 16 after Joiner converted a 3-point play for a 45-29 lead with 3:29 to go.
Kelsie Glass knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during a 7-0 Mount Union run, and the visitors pulled within 49-42 on a Maddy Miles free throw during the final minute of the third quarter. The Purple Raiders came closer on another Glass 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, and when Madison Hensley sank a pair of free throws midway through the period, it was a 54-52 game.
Lay-ins by Schipfer and Delaney gave the Bishops a 60-53 lead with 1:25 remaining, but Mount Union countered with a Glass jumper before Hensley stole the inbound pass and scored for a 60-57 game with :48 to go.
Joiner then found Denison open beyond the arc, and Denison buried a 3-pointer to make it a 2-possession game with :26 left, and the Bishops closed out the game with a Denison free throw with :05 remaining.
Joiner led the Bishops with 20 points and 4 assists. Delaney scored 14 points, Schiper had 12 points and a team-high 9 rebounds, and Denison finished with 10 points.
Glass had 18 points for Mount Union.
Joiner represented Ohio Wesleyan on the all-tournament team. She was joined by Glass of Mount Union, Kennedy Lewis of Wilmington, and Cameron Bates of Mount Aloysius.
Ohio Wesleyan outscored host Otterbein 42-34 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to offset a slow start en route to a 64-60 non-conference setback Thursday night in Westerville.
After the Bishops’ Nick Carlson scored inside to even the score 4-4 less than two minutes in, the Cardinals scored the next nine straight — a spree kicked off by a Jake Justice three — to take control.
Jack Clement scored a game-best 24 points on the strength of four three-pointers. Carlson wasn’t far behind, finishing with 17 points and four rebounds, while Grant Spicer smoothed out OWU’s top three with eight points and four boards of his own.
Cam Evans led Otterbein with 15 points while Dallas Patrick and Dominic Cantrell added 11 and 10, respectively.
OWU Sports Information contributed to this report.