EKU women win opening round ASUN Tournament game
The Colonels went on a 23-6 run to end the game and secure a 71-57 victory over Kennesaw State
RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ/EKU ATHLETICS) – Eastern Kentucky trailed Kennesaw State by two with 7:17 left in the first round of the ASUN Tournament, but the Colonels held the Owls scoreless for over five minutes and closed on a 23-6 run to secure a 71-57 victory on Wednesday night in McBrayer Arena.
The fourth quarter run started when Ariel Kirkwood’s layup knotted the score at 51-51 with 6:54 left in regulation. Two Emma Hacker free throws gave EKU (15-15) its first lead of the quarter with 6:16 to go. The score held for nearly three minutes until Alice Recanati’s layup off a I’Liyah Green steal put Eastern up 55-51 with 3:19 remaining.
Kennesaw State (9-19) threatened one final time, closing the gap to 59-55 with 1:31 on the clock, but Kirkwood delivered the dagger with a three-pointer to push Eastern’s lead by to seven. EKU made nine of its 10 free throws in the final minute to put the game away.
The Colonels, who were playing their first home postseason game since 2003, earned the program’s first postseason victory since a run to the OVC Championship game in 2017.
Recanati led all scorers with 14 points and totaled a team-high five assists. Green added 13 points and led EKU with three steals. Hacker and Bria Bass each finished with 10 points, while Kirkwood pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
In a hotly contested first quarter, neither team led by more than a basket until Brie Crittendon knocked down a three-pointer with 2:23 left in the period to put EKU up 16-12. Kennesaw State answered with five consecutive points to take a 17-16 lead into the second quarter.
Recanati opened the scoring in the second period with a layup to give the Colonels an 18-17 lead at the 8:26 mark. Eastern would not trail for the rest of the half, extending the lead to seven on a Recanati three with 4:27 left before intermission. The Owls rallied with seven straight points to tie the game with 2:17 to go, but Hacker’s three-pointer put the Colonels back on top and helped EKU take a 33-31 lead to the locker room.
Kennesaw State opened the second half on a 9-0 run to move ahead 40-33 at the 7:34 mark of the third quarter. Eastern Kentucky responded with its own 9-0 run, capped by a basket from Green that gave the Colonels a 42-40 lead with 5:04 left in the quarter. However, the Owls rallied back once again and took a 49-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
To view box score, click here.
Eastern Kentucky will travel to Liberty on Sunday to face the Flames in the ASUN Tournament quarterfinals.