Denison upsets Kenyon in NCAC finalGAMBIER, Ohio (February 26, 2005) Defense does indeed win championships and Saturday afternoon the Denison Big Red basketball team had the better defense. Denison held the No. 1 seeded Kenyon Ladies to 27 percent shooting and earned a 49-39 victory in the championship game of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament.
With the win, the No. 2 seeded Big Red improved its record to 19-8 and earned the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national tournament. Kenyon, which is now 22-5, can only wait and hope for an at-large bid Sunday night, when the NCAA selection committee announces the final tournament field at 10:00 p.m.
Kenyon, which possessed a defense that held opponents to just 47 points per game, got a dose of its own medicine Saturday. Denison contested every Kenyon shot and didn't give the Ladies any breaks. Late in the game, Kenyon tried to play catch-up with three-point attempts, but they just weren't falling. Overall, the Ladies finished 5-of-30 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Denison offense didn't have an easy game either. Kenyon's defense managed to hold the Big Red to 34.7 percent shooting (17-of-34). The defensive struggle resulted in a 19-15 Denison lead at halftime.
Early in the second half, Kenyon fell behind by nine points, but then slowly surged back to within one point at the 9:42 mark. A three-pointer from Megan Sheasby followed by two points each from Allison Lebar and Anne Dugan cut the Denison lead down to 28-27.
Despite clawing their way back into the game, the Ladies' rally was countered with a five straight points from Denison's Tammy Hoch and Emma Woodward. That spurt gave the Big Red enough breathing room down the stretch to claim the win.
Denison's Kristen Sheffield, who was selected as the All-Tournament team MVP, logged 16 points and six rebounds for the Big Red. Woodward, who was also named to the All-Tournament team, added 14 points and six rebounds.
Dugan led the Ladies with 13 points, while Katy Zeanah grabbed a game-high ten rebounds. Lebar finished off her game with six points and nine boards. Both Zeanah and Lebar were selected to the All-Tournament team, along with Ohio Wesleyan's Erica Brizendine and Wittenberg's Emilie Schmid.