Conference CrownGAMBIER, Ohio (February 16, 2005) Scoring seven straight points in the game's last four minutes, first-year player Alisha Moreno lifted Kenyon to a 48-46 win over Ohio Wesleyan University and led the Ladies basketball team to their second North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season title. With a 19-4 overall record and a 13-2 conference mark, the Ladies are now assured a number one seed in next week's NCAC tournament.
Moreno, who finished the game with nine points, and the rest of the Ladies trailed Ohio Wesleyan for most of the game, but always managed to stay within striking distance. With just under four minutes to play and the Bishops leading 43-40, Moreno made her first move by knocking down a three-pointer that knotted up the game with 3:47 showing on the clock. Both teams missed three-pointers on their next possessions, but Kenyon got the ball back in the hands of Moreno, who converted two layups on back-to-back trips down the court. That outbreak gave the Ladies a 47-43 advantage with just 1:36 left.
Moreno's clutch performance actually occurred at the back end of a 14-3 Kenyon run that began with a Hilary Gowins' three-pointer and was sustained by a field goal and two free throws from senior post Allison Lebar. During the run, the Ladies' defense held Ohio Wesleyan to just a pair of field goals over the game's last eight minutes.
Kenyon, ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense, held the Bishops to 34.1 percent shooting (15-of-44) overall and 12.5 percent shooting (2-of-16) from three-point range. At the other end of the floor, the Ladies uncharacteristically struggled at the free throw line, but made up for it by shooting 40.9 percent (18-of-44) overall and 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from beyond the arc.
In addition to Moreno's heroics, both Lebar and Gowins came up big for Kenyon. Lebar controlled the paint and posted team-highs of 14 points and six rebounds, while Gowins, a first-year guard, patrolled the perimeter with 11 points and four assists.
Ohio Wesleyan (16-8, 10-5 NCAC) held a 27-24 lead at the break and led by as many as seven points in each half. The Bishops were paced by Erica Brizendine's 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Kenyon, which last won a conference title in the 1996-'97 season, plays Hiram College on Saturday in the regular-season finale and then will prepare for its quarterfinal tournament game Tuesday against an opponent yet to be determined.