Kelsie Cleeton (Photo Credit: Plumlee Photo)
CofO women’s basketball headed north for a post-Christmas classic at Bellevue University and faced #15 Hastings College on Friday afternoon.
The Hastings College Broncos jumped out to a 15-2 lead to start the game, shooting 62%in the opening quarter to just 32% for CofO. The Lady Cats calmly chipped away at the deficit, closing the gap to 21-15 by the end of the first quarter. Hastings continued to shoot well in the second quarter (46% FG and 57% 3FG), but CofO heated up (40% FG and 50% 3FG) and outscored the Broncos 22-20 to trail by just four points at halftime. Kelsie Cleeton led all scorers with 13 first-half points. Hastings held a 21-18 rebounding advantage and committed eight turnovers to just two by the Lady Cats. Foul trouble plagued three CofO starters, but the Lady Cat bench stepped up.
CofO came to life offensively in the second half, shooting 54% and 47% in the third and fourth quarters respectively, while holding the Broncos to 29% and 20%. CofO outscored Hastings by eight in both quarters for a 77-65 victory. The Lady Cats pulled down fourteen fourth-quarter rebounds, compared to six for the Broncos, and came away with a final rebounding advantage of 40-37. CofO forced 14 turnovers and had just six of their own. The Lady Cats had thirteen second-chance points and capitalized with ten points off Bronco turnovers. The Lady Cat bench outscored the Bronco bench 23-18.
Despite sitting much of the second half with foul trouble, Cleeton led all scorers with 22 points. Cass Johnson added 17 points, and Ashley Forrest came off the bench to contribute a career-high 15 points. Cleeton pulled down nine rebounds and led with five assists and three steals.
CofO (12-2) returns to action on Saturday to face (RV) Bellevue at 1:00pm.