NORTH CANTON, OH. (WFIE) - The Kentucky Wesleyan College women’s basketball team for the second consecutive season played for the Great Midwest title. Like last year Walsh University was the final obstacle, but the Cavaliers dashed the Panthers hope of an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament with an 81-58 victory. Like the previous meeting in January Walsh jumped out to a hot start on their home floor and distanced Wesleyan.
A 13-2 run in the first quarter gave the Cavaliers (28-2) a 27-9 lead. They finished the first frame with a 31-10 advantage. The Panthers (28-3) continued to try and find their three-point shooting touch, but the fast pace game allowed the Cavs to build a lead.
The Panthers trailed by 24 points with seven minutes left in the half, but ended the half on a 15-5 run that reduced the deficit to 45-31 at the break. Wesleyan shot 41% from the field in the second quarter, including a five of nine clip from the arc. Tahlia Walton scored nine points in the frame while Kaylee Duncan added six points.
The Cavaliers busted the game open in the third quarter building a 69-42 lead. Walsh shot 56% from the field in the third and played a slower fourth quarter to reduce possessions and limit the possibility of a comeback.
Walton finished with 20 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. Keelie Lamb added eight points.
The Panthers will have to wait for selection Sunday to see if they have earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.