The Ohio Wesleyan women’s basketball team kicked off the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament with a convincing 59-41 win over visiting Hiram in a quarterfinal game on Tuesday at Branch Rickey Arena.
The Bishops advance to face second-seeded Oberlin, a 61-59 winner over seventh-seeded Kenyon on Tuesday, in an NCAC tournament semifinal matchup at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. The winners of Friday’s semifinal games will square off in the tournament championship game on Saturday, also at DePauw.
Ohio Wesleyan opened up the scoring off of a layup by senior post Molly Delaney 2 minutes into the first quarter. Hiram would take the lead late in the period with a jumper by Madison Branch and a 3-pointer from Alex Lichner.
Delaney went on to add 7 more points, 3 coming from free throws, as the Bishops opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. Senior post Cierra Joiner scored 9 points later in the quarter to give the Bishops a 31-22 advantage over Hiram at the half.
The second half started with Hiram’s possession of the ball and, after a series of turnovers, the Terriers opened the scoring with a layup from Selena Vargas.
Delaney was able to get the Bishops’ first points of the second half with a 2-point jumper that Hiram was able to equalize just moments after with a series of free throws. She added 2 more with a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 9.
The Bishops went on to a 9-0 run, with a 3-pointer coming from freshman wing Kelsey Wolfe at the end of the third quarter to give them a 14-point lead going into the final 10 minutes of the game.
A 3-pointer from Hiram’s Maddie Rakestraw opened up the scoring in the final quarter, but Ohio Wesleyan put the game out of reach with a 10-0 run, with Joiner scoring twice for the Bishops.
Joiner led the Bishops with 21 points. Sophomore guard Kasey Schipfer finished with 14 points and matched a career best with 12 rebounds. Delaney ended the game with 13 points and a team-high 7 assists.
Haley Thompson scored 11 points for Hiram.
Senior wing Zane Ries knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as Ohio Wesleyan narrowed a 17-point second-half deficit to just 6 points, but sixth-seeded DePauw held on for an 81-71 upset of the third-seeded Bishops in a quarterfinal contest of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament on Tuesday at Branch Rickey Arena.
Junior post Grant Spicer converted a 3-point play to bring the Bishops within 54-45 with 14:25 left in regulation time, but the Tigers got a 3-pointer by Elijah Hales and 2 trifectas from R.J. Powell on the way to a 68-52 advantage, then took a 74-57 lead on a pair of Hales free throws with 6:50 remaining.
Nick Wissel hit a timely 3-pointer for the visitors to stretch the lead to 77-64 with 2:30 left, but the Bishops rallied with another Ries 3-pointer and buckets by Clement and Spicer to make it a 77-71 game with 1:29 left.
DePauw’s Nolan Niego drove for a lay-in to push the lead back to 8, and Grant Niego added a pair of free throws for the 81-71 final.
OWU Sports Information contributed to this report.