Women’s Basketball posted a 2-0 record this past week with wins against Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster. The Tigers returned home after a two-day road trip last week where they swept Hiram and Allegheny before returning to the Pam Evans Smith Arena to face Ohio Wesleyan.
vs Ohio Wesleyan
The Tigers opened their week facing the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan in a tough conference matchup. The Tigers went into the evening with a firm grip on third place in the conference while the Bishops sat in fourth place. The Tigers looked happy to return to home court after their road trip the previous weekend and came out strong early. Delaney Williams (’21) put the Tigers on the board early with two consecutive layups in the paint. Wittenberg led the Bishops, 14-8, at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers continued to pressure the Bishops as six of 24 total defensive rebounds occurred in the second quarter.
“When you have defense and you finish defensive rebounds, good things happen,” head coach Kelly Mahlum said. Good things certainly happened as the Tigers held the Bishops to a halftime score of 31-19.
The Tigers continued their momentum into the second half as they outscored Ohio Wesleyan in the paint, 46-20.
“[Williams] sets the [defensive] tone for us, so she won’t talk about it, but I will, because how she plays defense and the reason we scored so much in the paint is [because] of her,” said Mahlum.
Williams lead the team with 14 points, six assists and four steals, while Kristie Kalis (’21) achieved double digit rebounds, with two offensive and eight defensive rebounds. The Tigers defeated Ohio Wesleyan, 64-43, and avenged their overtime loss on the road in January.
The Tigers returned to the court last Saturday to celebrate the senior class of Riley Culver (’20), Jenna Bluemlein (’20) and Korynne Berner (’20) in a final regular season match-up against Wooster.
“I already get emotional when I talk about senior day, doesn’t matter what seniors it is,” Mahlum said in an interview following the Ohio Wesleyan game.
The Tigers harnessed their emotions as they controlled the game start to finish, ending the first quarter with a commanding 24-8 lead over the Fighting Scots.
After recognizing the seniors for both Wooster and The Tigers, the entire senior class took the court as the for their final regular season game. The experience was especially important for Bluemlein as she was a starter for the first time in her Wittenberg career.
“It was special for her, because she doesn’t get that opportunity normally, so she took full advantage of it, Mahlum said. “[Saturday morning] during shoot-around, she just thanked her teammates for giving her the opportunity. It’s a combination of coaches decision, but also a teammate has to give up a starting spot, and the team was totally ready to do that.”
Bluemlein took advantage of her starting role, grabbing seven rebounds to go along with four points and two assists. Not to be outdone, Culver fought through an illness to earn 10 points and seven rebounds and be the “the steady force we needed to be there,” Mahlum said.
Berner had an impressive senior day as well, as she led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds.
“The thing that encapsulates Korynne is that she just works, it doesn’t matter what is happening on the floor. She’s done that for four years, and to have a great senior day to encapsulates her senior year is just awesome,” Mahlum said.
The Tigers followed the lead of the senior class as they outshot Wooster 28-12, and outscored the Scots 32-10 in the paint. The Tigers defeated Wooster, 67-36 and now look forward for their final regular season road trip to Oberlin on Saturday, for a 1:00pm tip-off.