Lynnia Noel tallied 25 points and Sophia Sears added 10 assists as the Goshen College women’s basketball team played to an 84-77 victory over the Brescia University Bearcats Friday afternoon.
Gabby Williams returned to the starting lineup after missing the first two games of the season, and her impact was felt immediately, as the 6’1 senior scored the first bucket to give Goshen the early lead. However, it was Bearcat Kelsey Kirkpatrick who stole the show in the first stanza, knocking down four shots and a pair of free throws for 12 of Brescia’s 22 first quarter points.
With a 25-22 lead out of the break, the Maple Leafs turned to their guards in the second quarter. Noel scored eight of her 15 first-half points and Caitlyn O’Neal recorded eight points as Goshen rode a 49-44 lead into the halftime break. Kirkpatrick would knock down two more 3-pointers before half to lead Brescia, whose biggest lead of the game was six, midway through the second quarter.
Goshen’s momentum and size took its toll on the Bearcats in the third quarter, as Noel duplicated her first stanza point total of eight while Williams added 12 points on six field goals, four of which were in a row to end the third with a 71-63 edge. The Maple Leafs also were able to hold Kirkpatrick to only two points, both of which came from the free throw line.
Sydney Stein would start the Maple Leaf scoring in the fourth by knocking down a free throw, followed by Noel’s final bucket of the game to push Goshen’s lead out to a game-high 11 at 74-63. Brescia would outscore the Maple Leafs 14-13 in the final stanza, but the one-point gain wasn’t enough to catch Goshen, the final 84-77.
The Maple Leafs dished assists on 27 of 33 made field goals (82%) in the contest, the highest mark in the past two seasons. Noel finished with 25 points, just one bucket short of her former career-high, set in a conference clash back on January 15 of her freshman year (2013-14) at Mount Vernon Nazarene where she scored 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
Williams ended with 18 points while O’Neal added 12 for Goshen. Sophia Sears led all players with her career-high 10 assists and tied Bearcat Alicia Salazar for a game-high seven rebounds. Kirkpatrick finished with 26 to lead all scorers.
“This was a chess match from start to finish,” commented head coach Stephanie Miller. “Brescia did a great job creating mismatches with their all guard line up and putting pressure on our defense.”
“Overall, we are learning important lessons about our team as we get experience together and today was a good bounce back game for us against a quality opponent,” Miller concluded.
The game was played on a neutral court in the Students Activities and Events Center on the campus of Indiana University East as a part of a two-day tournament, which Goshen returned to on Saturday to take on the host Red Wolves.
Four Maple Leafs scored in double digits, however hot shooting from Indiana University East would get the job done as the Goshen College women’s basketball team lost an 86-71 contest to the Red Wolves Saturday afternoon.
IU East (3-0) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to Tia King, who would finish the first stanza with a team-high eight points. However, Kelsey Fraley had the response Goshen (2-2) needed when she scrambled for a steal near midcourt, then knocked down a corner 3-pointer on the ensuing possession. The rest of the quarter tended towards the Red Wolves, as they took a 15-11 lead into the first break.
The experienced guard combo of Sophie Sears and Lynnia Noel took over in the second quarter for the Maple Leafs, as the two combined for 19 of the team’s 24 points in the second stanza. Goshen’s biggest lead of the game came with 2:11 left in the half up by four, however IU East used a balanced attack to get seven different players in the scorebook throughout the quarter and the game went to halftime tied 35-35.
The Red Wolves came out of the locker room ready to shoot in the third quarter, knocking down eight of their 14 3-pointers for the game en route to a 29-21 quarter and 64-56 advantage with only 10 minutes to play. Sydney Stein led Goshen with 12 points on five field goals and a pair of free throws in the third stanza.
The hot shooting continued on into the fourth for IU East, as they extended their lead out to a game-high 20 points with 3:08 left to play. Sears, Noel and Williams each tallied four points to lead Goshen in the final quarter, however it wasn’t enough to catch the Red Wolves, who finished the game up 86-71.
The Maple Leafs shot 29-of-72 (40%) from the field, while IU East shot 30-of-66 (46%) from the floor. Goshen went 5-of-15 (33%) from deep while the Red Wolves finished 14-of-24 (58%) from downtown.
Sears finished with 19 points for the Maple Leafs, followed closely by Noel with 18 and Stein, who finished with 17 points and a rebound short of a double-double with nine boards. Williams also hit double-digit points with 10 while pulling down seven boards. Sears and Noel each dished out five assists for Goshen. King finished with 25 points to lead IU East.
“This game had a real tournament feel for most of the game,” said head coach Stephanie Miller. “IU East was a tournament caliber team last year & returned all of their 2015-16 squad, so we knew it would be a very tough test and they proved to be a little too much for us this afternoon.”
“I was proud of our effort, our toughness, and our grit on the glass,” Miller continued.
“If this is the way we dedicate ourselves to playing moving forward, we will make consistent progress and I like our chances.”
Goshen now has three days off before returning to the hardwood for their home-opener when they host NCAA Division III opponent Earlham College from Gunden Gymnasium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.