By Maggie Fipps
The Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers defeated the Cedarville women’s basketball team 57-45 on Thursday afternoon.
Even though both teams came into the game with the same overall record, (12-7) Kentucky Wesleyan has played much better in-conference, (9-4) as compared to Cedarville, (7-7). The Panthers rank third in the G-MAC, guaranteed to make a spot in the 6-team playoff in March.
Only fifteen seconds into the first quarter, the Panthers threw a quick pass into the paint for a layup, stunning the Jackets. This would set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Panthers maintained the lead for thirty-eight minutes.
However, Cedarville had already been blown out by Kentucky Wesleyan earlier in the season, and they were determined to not be crushed again.
“I know we had a little bit of fire from the last game,” starting forward Lexi Moore said. “I think that made us a little more hungry for it.”
Although the 17-13 score didn’t show it, during the first quarter the Panthers had full control of the game, shooting double the Jacket’s field goal percentage, 60% to 30% respectively.
But Cedarville responded and at the start of the second, mimicked the Panthers with their own score fifteen seconds in. Their rally wasn’t enough, and the quick style of ball the Panthers played, featuring fast passes coming up the floor, seemed to catch the Jackets off balance.
Well into the third quarter, Cedarville stopped the Panthers three times in one possession by tipping their passes out of bounds, showing their desperation to stop the torrent of points, and the perseverance to keep fighting.
With forty-six seconds left in the third, Lexi Moore got 2 offensive rebounds and eventually got the layup herself, not willing to give up. She would finish with eight rebounds and made her presence felt throughout the game.
By the end of the third quarter, Cedarville had gotten within eight points of the Panthers, but it just wasn’t enough.
The Panthers maintained an eleven-point lead throughout most of the game, and even though the Jackets were able to create turnovers, it was too little too late.
Head Coach Jason Smith was still happy with his team’s performance in other areas of the game.
“We didn’t commit one charge,” Smith said. “They’re notorious for taking charges, and we really worked on that because that gives them a little momentum. That’s a really great thing our girls achieved.”
The Jackets will have a long road to attempt to climb back into the playoff picture with their loss but have optimism moving forward.
“I’m proud of our team,” Smith said. “I couldn’t ask for more effort, and sometimes the results don’t always match up with their effort.”
Maggie Fipps is a freshman journalism student and the co-sports editor of Cedars. She enjoys playing the piano and thrifting, and you may spot her around campus sporting Packers gear head to toe.