PAINESVILLE, OH. (WFIE) - The Kentucky Wesleyan College women’s basketball team avoided a perfect storm on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers were tested throughout by Lake Erie College, but withstood a physical contest to emerge with 65-57 win. The victory marks the 21st of the season in 22 tries.
The Storm (8-13, 5-6 GMAC) trimmed their deficit to one possession in the fourth quarter, 56-53 with six minutes left in the game. The Panthers (21-1, 12-1 GMAC) responded with back-to-back baskets from Keelie Lamb and Kaylee Clifford. Tahlia Walton made if three straight baskets in the paint as her lay-up extended the Panthers’ lead to 62-53.
As was the fashion for the entire contest, the Storm would not go away, making enough perimeter baskets to remain in contention for an upset. Two long range baskets around a miss from Wesleyan allow the Storm to cut the deficit to 63-57. The tempest attempt for a comeback ended there as the Panthers made enough free throws combined with defensive pressure down the stretch.
Leah Richardson and Walton each scored five points in the final frame as the Panthers were five of nine from the field in the quarter, scoring 14 points to LEC’s 11.
The Panthers led 37-30 at the half and came out of the locker-room with a purpose. Lamb started the third quarter with a jumper while Clifford converted another lay-up after a Storm turnover. Cali Nolot ended the furious start with a three-point basket that gave Wesleyan a 44-30 lead.
Lake Erie responded by outscoring Wesleyan 16-7 through the remainder of the quarter, entering the final stanza of play with a 51-46 deficit. The momentum shift continued for LEC in the fourth at they pulled within one, 51-50, after making their first two shot attempts. Richardson gave the Panthers some breathing room with a triple with seven minutes left in the game.
Lamb finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Walton recorded 12 points, four rebounds, and four steals. Lily Skye Grimes added 10 points and dished out four assists. Wesleyan struggled from the free-throw line making 14 of 23 from the charity stripe.
The Panthers return home on Thursday for a match-up against Findlay. Tip-off at the historic Sportscenter is scheduled for 5:30 PM.