Springfield, Ohio – Junior forward Korynne Berner posted her first-career double-double performance and Wittenberg got 34 points off the bench to lead to a hard-fought 56-45 win over visiting Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday night in Pam Evans Smith Arena. With the win, the Tigers improved to 11-6 overall on the season and remain as part of a four-way tie for second place in the NCAC standings with a 5-3 mark against conference opponents.
How It Happened
It was a sluggish start for the Tigers as they only managed to make three shots from the field in the opening quarter and trailed OWU by a 15-9 margin after 10 minutes of play. The Bishops continued their pace over the first five minutes of the second quarter, leading by as many as 11, 22-11, with 5:32 showing on the clock on a three ball from Lisa Zeller. However, the Tigers closed out the half on a 13-2 run, that culminated in back-to-back three pointers from senior Alex Kiess and sophomore Abigail Yunker down the stretch to even the score at 24-24 at the break.
After being held scoreless in the first half, sophomore Kristie Kalis scored the Tigers' first seven points of the second half on a pair of layups and a three pointer, while Yunker gave Wittenberg a four-point edge at 34-30 on a three ball of her own with 3:49 left in the third frame. Over the final 3-plus minutes of the third, the Tigers led by as many as eight, but ultimately settled for a 42-36 lead after 30 minutes of play.
OWU did pull with two, 47-45, with 4:52 left in the game, but a Berner layup on the next Wittenberg possession pushed the lead back out to four and the Tigers never looked back from that point on to safely clinch the 11-point victory over the Bishops.
By The Numbers
While Kiess did score 10 points as a member of the starting five, it was the bench duo of Berner and Yunker that paced the Tigers on the night. Berner notched season-best totals in both points (14) and rebounds (11), while Yunker reached double figures in scoring for the fifth time this season with 10 points in just 13 total minutes of action.
Neither team shot particularly well from the field in the game, but Wittenberg did hold the advantage after shooting 39 percent (21-of-54) from the field compared to just 33 percent (17-of-51) for OWU. Wittenberg also held a comfortable 44-30 edge in the rebounding column, which also led to a 17-2 advantage in second chance points on the night.
The Tigers will now hit the road this weekend for 1:00 p.m. tip-off at Denison on Saturday (1/19), before returning to Pam Evans Smith Arena next Wednesday (1/23) for a 7:00 p.m. contest against league-leading and 17th-ranked DePauw (14-3, 8-0).