The Ohio Wesleyan women’s basketball team got off to a quick start and used a big second quarter to run away from visiting Goucher 82-56 Thursday night at Branch Rickey Arena.
The win puts OWU in the championship game of the Bishop Classic/Hoops for Hope for the fourth straight season as it looks to capture its first title at the event since 2012.
“That’s definitely a goal when you have your own tournament – the worst thing is to not play in the championship game,” Bishops coach Stacey Ungashick Lobdell said. “We had six days off and they came back really focused. It all circles back to the leadership of (Taylor) Dickson and (Megan) Kuether.”
Dickson scored the last seven points during a 9-0 start as the Bishops opened 13-1.
“I’m just trying to get my teammates open as much as I can in the beginning,” said Kuether, whose four assists on the first five baskets helped spark the team.
Dickson finished with a season-high 25 points and Kuether finished with 18 points and 10 assists.
“We had a slow start against (Baldwin-Wallace), so it was crucial for us to get out, play our game and run,” Kuether said.
OWU was turnover prone in the opening frame, which helped the Gophers close 9-2 to trail 15-10 at the end of one.
The Bishops (4-7), who snapped a three-game skid, put up 29 points in the second quarter to blow it open. Dickson and Kuether led a 10-2 run at the end of the half to give OWU a 44-26 lead at the break.
“We felt really confident, which is super important especially because we’re a young team,” Dickson said. “We’ve seen what we can do in spurts … but, knowing that we need to come out that way really sparked us.”
Elea Karras scored 13 of her 15 points to lead the Bishops in the second half as the lead ballooned to as much as 28 on a Kendall Kaiser layup with 1:41 left in the fourth.
OWU came in averaging about 10 fewer rebounds per game than Goucher, but out-rebounded the Gophers 52-34 thanks to Karras and Nicole Popovich, who had nine rebounds apiece to lead the Bishops.
Claire Sterling had eight rebounds and Dickson closed with seven. Popovich had four assists.
“We really like to run transition – not to score, but to extend the defense,” Ungashick Lobdell said. “It helps us get organized on the offense. I think it’s really starting to set in and they’re really understanding how important that is.”
Briana Bull led the Gophers (3-7) with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Jaida Scarborough added 17 points and four rebounds.
Goucher had 10 steals as a team, led by Bull, Scarborough and Kerry Chun with three apiece.
ROCHESTER 85, KALAMAZOO 67
Alexandra Leslie had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead Rochester past Kalamazoo in the second game of the Bishop Classic/Hoops for Hope Thursday night at Branch Rickey Arena.
Lauren Foley had 12 points for the Yellowjackets, who led by as much as 26 in the third quarter.
Emily Kozal led with 17 points and 6 rebounds and Danielle Simon added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Hornets, who got as close as 14 in the fourth quarter.
Kalamazoo will face Goucher in the consolation game Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. and Rochester and Ohio Wesleyan meet for the championship, scheduled for 3 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.