By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- After a rough first haf offensively for both teams, the Express used a 27-4 third quarter to put away Tri-C en route to a 81-54 win on Wednesday night.
Both teams got off to a rocky start in the first half with neither scoring a basket from the field until a little over six minutes to play in the first half. Essence Cowan's three broke the scoring drought, and the Express were off and running.
Owens would lead by double digits at the break at 39-27, but the third quarter was where they would shine. The 23 point difference in scoring for the quarter was the seventh time this year that the Express have outscored an opponent by 20 or more points in a quarter. The largest advantage came back on December 2, when Owens outscored Hocking College 30-1 in a quarter.
The Express would push their lead to as high as 36 in the game before a Challenger run cut the deficit to 27 to close out the game.
Brenda Pennington was the leading scorer for the Express. The sophomore finished with 18 points on a very efficient 5-7 shooting from the floor. She was also 6-8 from the free throw line. She also had eight rebounds and five assists to fill out her balanced stat line. Kaylah Ivey finished with 17 points on 6-12 shooting and a solid 5-8 from the charity stripe. She was a big part of the Express's 18 point adavantage in point in the paint on the evening. She also finished with six caroms.
Olivia Frost had 11 points on 5-8 shooting to go along with her five rebounds against the Challengers. Dai'Shona Polk finished with a near double-double, missing the mark by one rebound. Polk had 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in Wednesday's contest. Da'Vina Shelton also finished in double figures with 10 points, with eight of them coming at the free throw line. As a team, Owens shot 22-30 (73%) from the charity stripe. That is six percentage points higher than their season average.
Overall, the Express shot 26-58 (44.8%) from the floor for the game compared to the Challengers 29.5% from the floor for the game. Makea Scott led the Challengers in points with 15 points, shooting 5-7 from three for the game.
Owens moves now to 17-4 (7-1 OCCAC) on the season, and they have now won four straight games. They won 10 in a row earlier in the season from November 21 to December 28. Cuyahoga fell to 10-4 on the season and 3-4 in OCCAC play.
The Express will next be in action this Saturday when they take on the Commodores of Lorain County, who are 5-15 overall and 1-5 in the OCCAC. Tip off is slated for 1:00 PM.
- Owens moved up to #6 in the latest NJCAA Division II Top 20 poll on Tuesday. The ranking is the highest spot the Express have been ranked this season. Prior to this week's poll, the highest ranking was #8 on January 9th. Of course this is also the highest ranking since the team was ranked #2 in Division II during the 2016-2017 season.