Scots Outdueled Late in Competitive Holiday Classic Opener

Akwia Tilton

A combined 46 points from Sewanee's Hannah McCormack and Bella Taylor powered a late-game run to seal a 69-56 victory over The College of Wooster women's basketball team in the Sewanee Holiday Classic opener on Friday evening at Sewanee, Tenn.

Leading 46-43 after three periods, Sewanee (3-5) outscored the Fighting Scots 23-13 in the fourth to seal its first home win of the season.

Taylor led all scorers with 24 points, followed by McCormack's 22 as part of a combined 18-for-34 shooting performance.

For Wooster (2-10), junior Anna Gibbs posted a team-high 15 points, followed by 10 from sophomore Akwia Tilton.

A competitive first-half reflected that notion on the scoreboard, with both teams tied at 32 entering the midway break.

In the first period, five different players accounted for Wooster's first six buckets, as sophomore Aubri McKoy tipped the score in Wooster's favor, 16-13, off the assist from Gibbs nearly six minutes into the game.

Down 23-21 after 10 minutes of play, Wooster limited the Tigers to just nine points in the second period.

Sophomore Erica Roberts, who made her first career start at center, leveled the game at 23-all with a layup from down low.

After a McCormick jumper at the 7:53 mark, both teams were held scoreless over a 2:31 span before Gibbs connected on an and-one to regain the lead at 26-25 with five minutes to play in the half.

A few minutes later, consecutive three-pointers from senior Aki Shurelds and sophomore Kylie Orr brought the Scots ahead 32-29 before entering halftime time tied at 32.

Seven points from Gibbs kept the Scots in it come the third period, as Sewanee outscored Wooster 14-11 in the third stanza.

Neither team gained more than a five-point advantage as part of an overall back-and-forth affair. Wooster's last third-period lead came off a Gibbs' jumper with 4:59 remaining to make it a 39-37 game.

In the fourth, Wooster regained a 47-46 lead behind consecutive mid-range buckets from Orr. After a McCormick three-pointer, Gibbs found Roberts in the lane for her third assist of the game to tie it at 49 with 7:45 remaining.

A 9-0 Sewanee run over the ensuing 3:14 granted the Tigers a controlling 58-49 lead before McKoy broke the dry spell with a lone free throw at the 4:23 mark.

Down by 10 with 3:30 left to play, the Scots reached back to within two possessions after consecutive jumpers from McKoy and Tilton, but a closing 7-0 run clinched the victory for the host team as the Tigers closed the game with 53 percent shooting in the fourth period.

Gibbs finished with a career-high six steals while three Scots – McKoy, Sarah Marion, and Sarah Rapacz – pulled down a co-team-high six rebounds.

Up next, Wooster concludes the Holiday Classic against Centre College (8-1) on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m.