By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Cincinnati, Ohio---Brenda Pennington (Bishop Noll/Hammond, Ind.) poured in 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half to lead the No. 2 Owens Community College women's basketball team to a 76-55 win over Cincinnati State Technical and Community College on the road this afternoon.
With the win, Owens remains undefeated at 21-0 overall and 8-0 in Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play, while Cincinnati State falls to 16-5 overall and 6-2 in OCCAC play. Owens, which now sits at least two games ahead of every other team in the OCCAC standings with the win, will travel to Cuyahoga Community College on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Owens committed an uncharacteristic season-high 26 turnovers and shot 25-for-70 for a season-low 35.7 percent from the field. However, the team made 11-for-21 (season-high 52.4 percent) from 3-point range and had its third best free throw performance of the season - 15 of 18 (83.3 percent).
In addition to tying her season-high with 20 points, Pennington added seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Essence Cowan (Lima Senior/Lima, Ohio) added 11 of her 14 points in the first half. Jeryn Reese (Mansfield/Mansfield, Ohio) finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Ariel Bethea (Huron/Ann Arbor, Mich.) had 10 points and six steals in 18 minutes.
Courizma Williams (Hughes/Cincinnati, Ohio), playing in front of a hometown crowd, made three big 3-pointers and totaled nine points, a team-high seven assists and five rebounds. Kaylah Ivey (Westerville South/Westerville, Ohio), meanwhile, had a game-high 15 rebounds.
After trailing twice over the first two and a half minutes, Owens got a drive and dish from Pennington to Ivey, who hit a layup with 7:09 left in the quarter for a 5-4 lead, and Cincinnati State never regained the lead, although nothing was easy for Owens.
Bethea hit a 3-pointer for a little breathing room and then a steal and a layup from Pennington put Owens up 10-4. Cincinnati State responded with three buckets from three different players to knot things up at 10 apiece, but Sybil Roseboro (Elyria/Elyria, Ohio) hit a big 3-pointer to swing momentum back to Owens with 1:53 left.
Williams then closed the quarter with her second 3-pointer to give Owens a four-point margin.
Cowan caught fire in the second quarter and tallied 11 points. Her third 3-pointer of the quarter gave Owens a 38-19 lead with 59 seconds left. Olivia Frost (North Baltimore/North Baltimore, Ohio) added one from long distance 30 seconds later to give Owens a 20-point lead at the break.
Cincinnati State started chipping away in the third quarter, trimming its deficit to 16 on three occasions over the first five minutes.
Then, with 3:41 left, Bethea went to the bench with an injury, but Owens got a combined five straight free throws from Pennington and Reese to push its lead back up to 20 with 1:49 left in the quarter.
Cincinnati State closed the quarter on a 6-0 run, but Bethea re-entered the game less than a minute into the fourth and helped Owens fend off a strong home effort. Pennington's jumper with 2:56 left pushed the lead back up to 20, and then she closed the game with two free throws in the final minute.
Ashleigh Gary led Cincinnati State with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Moore added 11. As a team, the Owens defense held them to just a 2-for-22 performance from 3-point range.
With her six steals today, Bethea now has 101 this year, which is just three shy of breaking Lakyn Gulley's (South Side/Fort Wayne, Ind.) single season record from last year. The program's all-time career steals leader is also just two steals away from an even 200 in her career.
Reese now has 774 career points. She passed Unique Lane (768, 2007-09) for 15th on the career scoring list today. Next up is Bridget Buss (779, 2004-06). She also picked up her fifth double-double of the season today, and it was the 19th of her career.
Cowan has now scored in double figures in six straight games, as well as 17 of 21 overall this year. The seven assists from Williams is a season-high. Pennington has now scored in double figures in nine games this year, including four of the past six. Roseboro has now made at least one 3-pointer in nine straight games. Ivey's 15 rebounds represented her second straight and ninth double digit rebounding effort of the season.
Owens has now won 35 straight games in the regular season dating back to Jan. 6 of last year. They also pushed the program's regular season conference winning streak to 41 dating back to Feb. 8, 2014. Today was the team's closest win. They've won 18 of 21 games by least 30 points. The other three have came by 21, 22 and 23 points.