The Case Western Reserve University women’s basketball team played their final two games at home in the Horsburgh Gymnasium this weekend, losing to No. 20 University of Rochester 81-49 and Emory University 73-62.
The Rochester game started with both teams running fast tempo offenses. The Spartans were trailing by five before third-year forward Hillary Hellmann hit a jumper to tie the game at 15 with three minutes left in the first quarter. However, the Yellowjackets ended the quarter on a 8-0 run and took a 23-17 lead. Cain started the second quarter with a layup before Rochester went on a 15-1 run to ice the game.
On their performance, first-year Becca Rowlands comments: “Last time we played Rochester we were down 30 points in the first quarter, so we felt good about [the first quarter].”
The Spartans scored combined 11 points over the second and third quarters. Although the Spartans put forth a strong effort in the fourth outscoring Rochester, the lead was too much to overcome.
The Yellowjackets were on fire, along with fourth-year forward Alexandra Leslie, who went 10-12 and was named Division III first team by D3hoops.com. Rochester ran a deep rotation of 15 players, with the starters playing a maximum of 19 minutes each, ensuring they were playing with fresh legs the entire game. Their bench outscored the Spartan’s bench, 36 to 16.
First-year forward Emma Cain scored a career-high 14 points, and both Hellmann and second-year guard Kendall McConico scored 8 points each. Rowlands notched a career-high 11 rebounds.
“Coach had worked with me on finding a body [instead of]…going straight for the ball,” said Rowlands. “I feel like a completely different player now compared to the beginning of the season.”
Hungry to bounce back from the loss, the Spartans ran a fast-paced offense and a tough 2-3 zone against Emory. The score was extremely close the entire first half, with seven lead changes and no team leading by more than 5 points. Hellman was aggressive in the first half, hitting multiple pull-up jumpers off pick and rolls. The Spartans took a 32-30 lead going into halftime.
McConico took over in the third, attacking the rim and even hitting a three for eleven points in the quarter. However, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run in the last two minutes of the third to take a 54-50 lead. Emory carried their momentum to the fourth, gaining a ten point lead in the last seven minutes of the game.
“”Emory took advantage of [our] mental lapse…it was not easy to comeback mentally.”” said Rowlands.
Hellmann finished the game with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds while McConico added 19 points and 4 assists.
Fourth-year former All-UAA first team Kara Hageman was honored before the game. Hageman has missed the 2017-2018 season due to injury and holds the most points scored in a season (504) and in a game (41).
“[Kara has been] an amazing leader and has been there for [the team] no matter what…she did not miss [a single game] and still talks to coach about how the team can do better.” praised Rowlands.
Cain served as a consistent anchor over the past two games, averaging 12 points and 4.5 rebounds. She held her own despite facing Leslie and third-year center Ashley Oldshue, who was named all UAA first team, in the post.
The Spartans will travel to Washington University in St. Louis on Friday at 7 p.m. and University of Chicago on Sunday at 2 p.m. to play their final games of the season.