Strimel’s Hot Hand Helps W&J Defeat Thiel
WASHINGTON, Pa. - Senior Kayla Strimel (Morgantown, W. Va./University) matched a career-high with 17 points as the Washington & Jefferson College women’s basketball downed Thiel 66-51 at the Henry Memorial Center on Wednesday night.
Strimel sank 7-of-9 shots from the field and grabbed three rebounds, helping the Presidents (10-8, 5-6 PAC) earn a season split with the Tomcats (5-13, 5-6 PAC). Thiel previously defeated W&J 76-66 in Greenville on Dec. 3.
The Presidents turned an eight-point lead into a 15-point halftime advantage with a 9-2 spurt during the stanza’s final four minutes. Senior point guard Vanessa Rivera (Reading, Pa./Wilson) sparked the run with an old-fashioned three-point play and a pair of steals that led to baskets.
The Tomcats cut the W&J lead to as little as seven points, but the Presidents answered with a 7-0 surge, making the lead 53-39 with 9:53 remaining. W&J led by double figures for the rest of the contest.
Senior point guard Vanessa Rivera (Reading, Pa./Wilson) tied a season-best with nine assists, while adding five points, four rebounds and four steals. Rivera now owns sole possession of fourth on the all-time assist list at W&J, as she passed Ann Aigner with her third helper of the night. Rivera has 350 assists during her four-year career.
Senior forward Ashley Kirkpatrick (Sharon, Pa./Kennedy Catholic) recorded her second-straight double-double with 15 points and 13 boards. She also contributed three assists and two steals.
The Presidents shot 45.2 percent (28-62) from the field and held a 44-27 advantage on the glass.
Kelly Barzak was the high-scorer for the Tomcats with 15 points. She drilled 7-of-8 free throws and also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. Ashley Davis contributed 14 points for Thiel, which shot 38 percent (19-50) from the field.
W&J is back at the Henry Memorial Center on Saturday afternoon when Thomas More comes to Washington (2:00 pm). The Saints handed the Presidents a 63-43 road loss earlier this season.