Key Runs Push Wooster Past Geneva in Season Opener

Christina Vukovich
Aubri McKoy

An overall team effort – highlighted by matching 14-point performances from sophomore Christina Vukovich and first-year Aubri McKoy – propelled The College of Wooster women's basketball team to a 75-67 win over Geneva College in the Fighting Scots' season opener at Beaver Falls, Pa. on Wednesday evening.

Vukovich and McKoy, who went a combined 12-for-23, were the only Wooster (1-0) players to score in double figures, while second-year Anna Gibbs and senior Rachel Collins each added nine points. Overall, 11 Scots recorded at least one field goal, while Collins stood out from the free throw line with a perfect 4-for-4 performance.

A back-and-forth first period had Wooster down 24-26 entering the second, but after a stout defensive awakening out of the break, the Scots retook the lead at 28-26 with 8:30 remaining the period and did not trail for the remainder of the contest.

Sophomore Shar Hankerson hit a jumper at the 4:37 mark to spark what would be the defining run in the Scots' victory, as Wooster closed the half on a 15-2 swing fueled by an and-one play from first-year Cat Fiorito and five points from Gibbs.

The Scots posted 50 points in the first half, tying the mark for the fourth-most points scored in an opening half in program history, and the first time Wooster notched 50 or more points in a half since scoring 51 in the second half against Geneva on Nov. 20, 2013.

Wooster eventually pushed the lead to 24 with 5:28 remaining in the third period behind a steal and fast-break layup from first-year Akwia Tilton, who finished her first collegiate game with four points and five rebounds, all of which came on the defensive end.

Geneva (0-1) managed to shrink the lead back to single digits after managing an 11-0 run midway through the fourth stanza, but a put-back layup from McKoy eased the tensions to bring it back to a double-digit lead as the Scots came home with their fourth season-opening win in their last five seasons.

Three players stood out in double figures for Geneva, headlined by Miranda Heaney, who went 9-for-12 from the field – including 7-for-10 from 3-point range. Despite the high-caliber performance, Wooster's defensive effort stood firm, forcing a game-high 21 turnovers. McKoy led the way on the boards with eight, followed by seven from Hankerson.

As a team, Wooster fared well from the charity stripe, connecting on 15-of-19 attempts, while Collins led the way on the defensive end with a game-high five steals.

The Scots return to action on Saturday, Nov. 19, as they get set to host Berea College (1-0) at 3 p.m. as part of the 21st Annual Nan Nichols Classic.