Cowan Shoots No. 2 Owens Past Sinclair 57-43, Into District I Title Tilt Tomorrow

Essence Cowan looks to make a move against Sinclair's Reanna Dudley in today's district semifinal game. Photo by Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Essence Cowan looks to make a move against Sinclair's Reanna Dudley in today's district semifinal game. Photo by Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information

By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information

Circleville, Ohio---Essence Cowan (Lima Senior/Lima, Ohio) shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 17 points to lead the No. 2 Owens Community College women's basketball team to a 57-43 win over Sinclair Community College in a Region XII District I semifinal at Ohio Christian University this afternoon.

With the win, Owens (31-0) advances to face No. 2 seed Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (25-6) in tomorrow's Region XII District I championship game. Sinclair's season ends at 23-8 overall.

With Owens producing a season-low 57 points as a team and going scoreless for an eight-minute stretch in the first half, Cowan and Brenda Pennington (Bishop Noll/Hammond, Ind.) got Owens back on track with 23 of their 32 combined points in the second half.

Owens opened the game by scoring seven of the first nine points, which included a 3-pointer from Cowan. However, the team went scoreless for the game's next eight minutes as Sinclair took a 9-7 lead into the second quarter.

Sinclair's Reanna Dudley then opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to give her team a five-point lead. Courizma Williams (Hughes/Cincinnati, Ohio) stopped the bleeding with a layup 1:13 into the second quarter, and her basket spurred an 8-0 run from Owens that made it 15-12 with 4:13 left in the half.

After Sinclair's Doriann Carter scored five straight to give her team the lead back, Owens got back-to-back layups from Kaylah Ivey (Westerville South/Westerville, Ohio) and Pennington to give the Express a 19-17 lead at halftime.

Out of halftime, Owens found its groove and opened the second half on a 9-0 run. Cowan hit a 3-pointer to get things started, and then Pennington scored four of the next six points to put Owens up 28-17.

Cowan then added two more 3-pointers to give Owens a 36-22 lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter. Her fourth 3-pointer of the quarter stretched it back to a 14-point lead moments later as Owens took a 41-27 lead into the fourth.

Owens scored 22 points in the third quarter, which was three more than they had the entire first half.

Pennington then scored five straight for Owens during a 8-2 run to open the fourth. Ariel Bethea (Huron/Ann Arbor, Mich.) hit one of two free throws with 7:02 left to give Owens a 49-29 lead.

From there, the closest Sinclair got was 14 with 59 seconds left.

Outside of Cowan's 17 points, Pennington added 15 points and six assists. She finished 7-for-13 from the field. Bethea added nine points, five rebounds and three steals, while Jeryn Reese (Mansfield/Mansfield, Ohio) nearly had a double-double by finishing with eight points, 10 rebounds and one steal.

As a team, Owens shot 23-for-55 (41.8 percent) from the field despite a 2-for-13 first quarter start. Defensively, they held Sinclair to a 16-for-51 (31.4 percent) shooting performance.


Owens defeated Cincinnati State 71-69 in last year's title game, and tomorrow will mark the fifth time in the past seven years the two teams have met in the title game. In fact, either Owens or Cincinnati State have won the past six championship with each team winning three.

The winner of tomorrow's championship game advances to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament in Harrison, Ark. March 21-25.

Owens is the two-time defending Region XII District I champion, and they have won three of the past four titles. 

With today's win, the Owens women have now won 33 straight games overall dating back to last year's national tournament, which ties the 2014-15 team's record for most consecutive wins overall.