LIMA - Davenport University came into Saturday's game at Racer Gymnasium ranked third in the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Poll and tied for the lead in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. The Panthers showed just why they're so highly regarded with a 75-46 win over the University of Northwestern Ohio.
The Lady Racers fell to 15-13 overall and 9-6 in the WHAC, now tied with Siena Heights University for fourth in the conference standings. The Lady Racers are trying to hold onto the fourth spot in the conference, which would give them a home game in the first round of the WHAC playoffs February 23. They hold the tiebreaker over Siena Heights after sweeping the season series.
The Panthers improved to 24-4 and 14-2 in the conference, keeping pace with Concordia University atop the standings.
The game didn't get out of hand until Kayleigh VanKeulen hit a 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining until halftime to give Davenport an 18-15 lead. The Panthers closed the half with a 19-0 run for a 34-15 lead at the break. Northwestern Ohio had five turnovers and went 0-for-4 from 3-point distance during the run.
The Panthers out-scored UNOH 26-9 over the first nine minutes of the second half to take a 55-24 lead. The Lady Racers would trail by no less than 30 points until Lauren Hopfner made the final shot of the game for the final 29-point deficit.
Angie Cates had 13 points for UNOH, the only player in double figures. She added four rebounds, four steals and three assists. Amanda Francis, the leading scorer in the WHAC, was held to seven points.
Abby Hengesbach came off the bench to lead Davenport with 19 points, going 9-of-10 from the field. Karlee Despres added 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Racers coughed up 36 turnovers, with Davenport scoring 34 points off turnovers. They managed to out-rebound the Panthers 45-36, but Northwestern Ohio had only nine second-chance points.
UNOH has two games left in the regular season, both at home - 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against Madonna University and 1 p.m. Saturday against Lourdes University.