Rivalry games are always close.
This week, the Denison women’s basketball team opened with a game against rival Kenyon. Kenyon came into the game with a record of 19-3, including a 9-1 record within the conference.
The Big Red were looking to avenge their 48-46 loss to Kenyon earlier in the season.
Both teams average around 61 points per game, so each made efforts to up the tempo and score at a high rate. Nevertheless, the second matchup proved to be just as much of a defensive battle as the first, with the Big Red falling 44-38.
The game opened with a slow first quarter, ending with the ladies from Kenyon leading 6-5 in points.
Not much would change as the game went on, as both teams finished the game shooting under 30 percent from the field. What was anticipated as a high scoring game quickly turned to a defensive matchup.
Without leading scorer Addie Buzas ‘20, the Big Red were forced to look to other scorers. Senior Guard Brittany Atkinson stepped up and finished the game with 15 points. Lauren Hofer ‘20 also added 9 points to the effort.
Despite the loss, there were plenty of good signs from the game. Head Coach Sara Lee rotated defenses, switching from man-to-man to a matchup 3-2 zone. She also rotated in some three-quarter-court pressure, which confused Kenyon late in the game and contributed to Denison’s late comeback.
In addition, Coach Lee gave some time to her young players, giving them a taste of the monster that is the Denison vs. Kenyon rivalry.
Zyah Beal ‘21, in referencing rivalry games, said, “Stay calm and just play. Everyone gets the big game day jitters at some point and it’s important that the team collects themselves.”
She also discussed getting a chance to play in such an intense game as a freshman.
“When you get an opportunity like that you have to make the best of it,” said Beal.
The team’s week continued on Saturday, ending in another close loss against Oberlin. This one in overtime.
The Big Red then tried their hand again in another conference game when they traveled to Wittenberg to take on the 10-10 Tigers. After a closely contested first half, Wittenberg went into the half up by a score of 28-23.
The Tigers came out of the locker room hot however, and led by as many as 15 in the third quarter.
However, true to character, the Big Red battled back and chipped away at the lead, finally tying it up on sophomore Allison Schafer’s three pointer with three seconds left in the game.
“Whenever they would go on a run we would fight back 10 times harder, and that’s what I love about the team,” said Beal.
Overtime went Wittenberg’s way however, and the game finished by a score of 68-62 in favor of the Tigers.
Atkinson led the way with 23 points. Schafer also had 20 points, including six three pointers.
Up next for the Big Red is Ohio Wesleyan at home on Wednesday, Jan. 31, where they will look to put an end to their current 5-game losing streak and get back on track.