NORTH CANTON, OH. (WFIE) - After the first blemish of the 2019-20 season on Friday night, the Kentucky Wesleyan College women’s basketball team provided a loud response on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers raced out to a fast start and never looked back in a 81-65 win over Malone. Five players reached double figures on the day while Wesleyan converted at 57% from the floor.
The Pioneers (8-5, 4-1 GMAC) recorded the opening basket of the game, but the Panthers (14-1, 5-1 GMAC) answer with a 25-4 run. Keelie Lamb ended the rally with a three-point basket that established a 25-6 lead. Moments later Jordyn Barga widened the lead to 20 points (28-8) after another first quarter three-point basket. The Panther converted five of six first quarter threes.
The Panthers took a 28-11 lead after one while the Pioneers looked to cut into the their deficit in the second quarter. After a slow start to the game, Malone found some offense. Bolstered by a 13-2 run early in the second, the Pioneers pulled within in single digits, 39-32.
The Wesleyan defense dug-in thereafter allowing no field goals and just two points in the final 4:17 of the frame. The Panthers closed out the half on a 11-2 run to take a 50-34 lead into the locker-room. The defensive dominance continued into the third quarter as it took the Pioneers 5:46 to record their next field goal, a three-point basket from Holly Groff.
Over 10 minutes of game-time expired with the Panthers holding the Pioneers to three points and no field goals. Wesleyan opened the second half on a 11-1 run, taking a 61-35 lead. Lily Skye Grimes ended the period with a three-point play, building a 70-47 Panthers lead.
Malone cut the deficit to 76-62 with four minutes left in the game, but did not have enough offensive firepower to advance further. Kaylee Clifford filled up the stat sheet as she finished with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Tahlia Walton came off the bench to score 16 points on six of eight shooting. Walton also grabbed six rebounds.
Lamb recorded 12 points and three rebounds before fouling out of the contest. Leah Richardson also finished with 11 points. Grimes added 10 points, four assists, and two steals.
The Panthers will return to the historic Sportscenter on Thursday as Great Midwest play continues with Ohio Valley. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 PM.