The Monmouth College women’s basketball team dropped their season opener to Coe College 76-54 on Saturday afternoon. The Scots were playing their first game under new head coach Michelle Decoud and had multiple returning players set new career highs in scoring.
Fifth-year senior Jadyn Mitchell (Flanagan, Illinois) scored the first points of the season from the free throw line to tie the game 2-2. Freshman Taj Hanserd (Rockford, Illinois) scored her first field goal with Coe leading 5-2. The Kohawks pushed the lead to 12-5 before Ashley Jones (Abingdon, Illinois) scored in the lane and freshman Danielle Beach (Geneseo, Illinois) followed with her first college basket. Coe led 16-11 after the first quarter as Kiersten Cox (Illinois City, Illinois) knocked down a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left.
Down 18-11, Cox made a baseline jumper and Ella Goodrich (Minonk, Illinois) scored in the lane. Olivia Dinges (Amboy, Illinois) made a jumper to cut the Coe lead to one but that was the closest Monmouth got all game. Coe responded with a 10-0 run before Cox made a jumper with 2:50 left in the half. Cox scored again and Averi Rangel (Moline, Illinois) made her first basket of the season as Coe took a 30-23 lead into the break.
Jones scored Monmouth’s first basket of the second half and Madison Heisch (Illinois City, Illinois) made two free throws. Coe extended the lead to 38-27 before Cox made two more free throws and a jumper for a 4-0 run. Cox and Goodrich combined for six more free throws in the quarter and Coe extended to a 50-38 lead. Kynlee Stearns (Gilson, Illinois) made her college debut after missing last season with a knee injury and knocked down a free throw with 34 seconds left in the quarter.
Coe began the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to push the lead to 58-39. Goodrich ended the run with a 3-pointer and then scored in the lane for a 5-0 personal run. Jones made a jumper to cut the lead to 63-46 and Goodrich scored again with 4:15 to play. Coe went back up by 20 and extended the lead to 22 with 1:30 left after Stearns made two free throws. Stearns scored at the buzzer for the final score of 76-54.
Cox led the way with a career-high 18 points and Goodrich scored a career-high 10. Jones scored six points and Stearns finished with five off the bench in her college debut. Cox also led the team with six rebounds and went 10-for-10 at the free throw line. Jones had two steals and joined Goodrich and Cox with two assists.
MONMOUTH MOMENTS: Of the 13 players that saw action on Saturday, 11 scored. Beach, Hanserd and Stearns made their college debuts and scored their first points. Coe finished with 58 points in the paint. Monmouth was 19-for-22 at the free throw line, 14-for-16 in the second half. The Scots out-rebounded Coe 22-18 and five players had at least three boards. Cox had two blocks and Monmouth registered six on the day. The Scots return to action on Tuesday with a 5 p.m. game against Augustana.
***Courtesy of Nathan Baliva, Monmouth College***