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Women’s basketball stands 4-3 following a series of close matches

Courtesy of Tim Phillis/CWRU Athletics
During the CWRU women’s basketball match against Allegheny, fourth-year forward Kayla Characklis recorded a career high of 22 points, leading the team to a win.

The Case Western Reserve University women’s basketball team started their season with a win and a loss. In the past couple of weeks they have won three more games and lost two more games, placing them at 4-3 in their non-conference play.

They traveled to Arlington,VA for the 2023 Pablo Coto Tip-Off Tournament where they faced Penn State Harrisburg for their first game. The game started with two good layups from the opposing team, putting the Spartans down by 4 with 8:18 left on the clock in the first quarter. They recovered quickly as fourth-year forward Kayla Characklis scored 4 points giving the Spartans a tie just a minute after. Even after falling behind once again, the Spartans tied the game through free throws. Fourth-year guard Margaret Terry made three successful free throws and first-year guard Mya Hartjes made one which tied the game 8-8 with 4:18 left on the clock. A jumper shot by Characklis gave the Spartans the first lead of the night and with 3:28 left on the clock of the first quarter. Then, a steal and a 3-point shot by graduate student forward/center Kate Montgomery gave the Spartans their largest lead of 4 points, one that they would keep into the second quarter. A free throw by second-year guard/forward Emily Plachta gave the Spartans their first points of the second quarter. The score was eventually tied by Penn State Harrisburg with 6:01 left on the clock, but a jumper by Plachta gave the Spartans the lead once again. After a couple of lead changes in the rest of this quarter, CWRU ended up leading by 4 with the score at 36-32.

The third quarter started out slow, with the first points scored 3:30 minutes in: Two consecutives 3-point shots from the opposing team left CWRU trailing by 2. However, an offensive rebound and a 3-point shot by first-year guard Jordyn Call put the Spartans back in the game. It was not enough to keep up with the 3-pointers made by Penn State Harrisburg which ultimately left the Spartans down at the end of this quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter, Call wasted no time and a successful 3-pointer gave the Spartans the lead once again. Continuing with their quick game-play, graduate student forward Micallef completed a layup which was followed by another 2 points from Montgomery, giving the Spartans a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of this quarter. Although the opposing team tried to catch up they never managed to take the lead again, and the Spartans obtained their highest lead of the night after a layup by Characklis placed the score at 57-66 with 3:24 left. The game ended with a layup by Micallef with only three seconds left giving the Spartans a win in the first round of this tournament. Call led the team with 17 points and added 2 rebounds. Montgomery added 15 points and 11 rebounds, her first double-double as a Spartan. Characklis added 11 points and 6 rebounds and Plachta had 7 points and 6 rebounds. The team shot 37.1% from the field and 32.0% from beyond the arc.

With their first win secured, they headed to the championship game against Marymount, where they lost 57-70. The game started slow for the Spartans, suffering from a 7-2 run from the opposing team and being down by seven with only two minutes into the first quarter. They managed to tie the game after a good jumper by Characklis, and two more jumpers by Plachta and Characklis again gave them the lead. This was short-lived after a 3-point shot by Marymount set them back once again. Through a struggle, they ended up down 6 points at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was difficult, and even after a 3-point shot from Call gave the Spartans only a 2 point deficit, they quickly lost this advantage and were down 10 going into the second half of this game. Although Marymount increased its lead to as many as 12 points in the third quarter, the Spartans did not give up and got as close as 6 points to tie the game. But the Saints quickly recovered and by the end of the third quarter were leading by 11 points.

Again, the Spartans tried to match the Saints’ energy and they started the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run which put them very close to taking the lead, but ultimately were unable to keep the stamina going through the end of the game. Characklis led all Spartans with a season-high of 18 points and had 6 rebounds. She also earned the All-Tournament Honors after she averaged 14.5 points and 6 rebounds over these two games. Montgomery scored 8 points and had 6 rebounds.

The Spartans traveled back to Ohio to face John Carroll University on Nov. 21 where they lost the game 66-81. Although the Spartans started the first quarter with two good free throws, this was the only lead that they would have throughout the night. Throughout the game, Characklis led the scoring between the Spartans with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Montgomery added 12 points and 5 rebounds and both fourth-year guard Sarah Mitchell and Hartjes added 7 points each.

With a losing streak of two, the Spartans redeemed themselves against Allegheny College where they were able to secure a win, finishing the game with a double digit lead. Characklis once again led all scores with 22 points. Montgomery completed her second double-double of her Spartan career and this season with 10 rebounds and 13 points. Micallef added 16 points and Plachta 10. The team shot 46.8% from the field goal range and 41.2%from the 3-point line. The Spartans obtained the lead after Plachta completed a 3-pointer within the first 43 seconds of the first quarter and never lost it.

The Spartans will be facing Kenyon College on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Horsburgh Gymnasium to continue their non-conference play.

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