The first win in its Great Midwest Athletic Conference history didn't come easily, but was a well-earned one by the Charger women's basketball team.
Hillsdale was able to hold on to a big first half lead to pick up a 64-56 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro Saturday afternoon. The win makes Hillsdale College 3-3 overall and 1-1 in G-MAC play this season.
The Panthers opened the fourth quarter on an 11-4 run that cut a 13-point Hillsdale lead to just six, 53-47, with a little more than five minutes to play in the game. But the Charger defense dug in and shut the Panthers out for more than four minutes. Although Hillsdale was only able to extend its lead by two points during that stretch, it gained valuable time in being able to maintain a lead, stop the Panthers' offensive momentum, and put the clock on its side as the game wound down. Made free throws by Maddy Reed and Makenna Ott down the stretch were also key in the Chargers staying in front down the stretch.
All six of Hillsdale's games this season have been on the road. The team finally plays a home game next Thursday when it plays its G-MAC home opener against Malone.
Junior Brittany Gray was a big part of Hillsdale's strong start in this game. She scored 8 points in the first quarter, making all three of her shots, as Hillsdale quickly established a double-digit lead. Gray and her teammates also did a commendable job on defense, limiting the Panthers to 5-for-27 shooting in the first half.
The Chargers led by as many as 22, 34-12, late in the first half. KWC scored six straight late to tighten up the halftime score, but that big early lead by Hillsdale proved to be too much for the home team to overcome.
The Chargers also controlled the boards in the win, outrebounding Kentucky Wesleyan 50-38. All five Hillsdale starters had 6 or more rebounds, led by 11 from senior center Allie Dittmer.