By Spencer MacDonald
The Kalamazoo College women’s basketball team fell to Adrian College on Saturday, February 17 in a 69-66 heartbreaker. The Hornet’s senior day celebration was cut short as they squandered a 12-point lead midway through the second half and never fully recovered, earning a split in the season series with the Bulldogs.
Senior guard India Hoskins led the way for the Hornets with 15 points while two-time MIAA player of the week Nicole Antoine tacked on 14 points. Junior transfer student Perri (Weiderman) Nicholson continued her steady play with 14 points accompanied by 8 rebounds on an efficient 6-9 shooting display. Adrian’s senior guard Lauren Rhoads led all scorers, dropping 18 points and 6 rebounds on the Hornets. As a team, the Hornets shot 37% from the floor as the Bulldogs countered with a measly 33% shooting performance.
While maintaining a lead throughout the back-and-forth game, Kalamazoo uncharacteristically made simple mistakes that ultimately cost them the game. The Hornets gave up 18 offensive rebounds and shot a dismal 57% free throw percentage.
“Traditionally we’ve been good at the free throw line,” said head coach Katie Miller. “I don’t know if it was pressure, or what the deal was but we can’t shoot 57% in a close game like that.”
Despite the errors, Kalamazoo hung around until the end of the game and had several chances to tie or retake the lead. With four seconds remaining, Rhoads split a pair of free throws to put the Bulldogs up by three. Kalamazoo junior guard Morgan Overstreet dribbled the length of the court and got herself a good look at a three pointer for the tie but came up just short.
With the loss, the Hornets miss out on a chance to clinch a tournament berth and move into a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot with Adrian. Both teams sport an 8-6 record in the MIAA with two games left to play. Should they remain tied, there would be a one game, single elimination play-in game to decide which team claims the final spot in the MIAA tournament, an accomplishment that the Kalamazoo women have never achieved since the four-team postseason was instated.
Making the tournament is certainly on the team’s mind, especially the two seniors on the roster, Hoskins and Antoine. Both have both stepped up as leaders this year and are pivotal to the Hornet’s success. Antoine is averaging 13.7 points per game while pulling down 7.1 rebounds a game while Hoskins facilitates the offense from the point guard position while also adding 7.6 points per game.
“Its all about leading by example,” explained Antoine. “We need to go out there from the jump ball and play hard, give it all we’ve got and play good defense.”
The Hornets look to continue their stellar season and finish with a winning record in the MIAA for the first time in 11 years. As Kalamazoo has combined for only 9 conference wins in the past four seasons, an 8 win season seems like quite an accomplishment; yet the team remains unsatisfied hungry for more success and for the elusive, final playoff spot in the MIAA.
“We’ve had such a good year and our players want to finish on a strong note,” said Coach Miller. “The season is a marathon and you fight all year to get into the playoffs. We’re taking it one game at a time and hopefully our hard work will pay off.”
The Hornets still control their own destiny as they travel to Trine on Wednesday before hosting the Knights of Calvin on Saturday in their final regular season game.