DANVILLE, Ky. – The Defiance College women's basketball squad traveled to Danville, Ky. to tip off its season at the Centre Tournament this weekend. The Jackets faced a tough first test, as DC played No. 14 Thomas More, a team that had a 25-5 record a season ago. The Purple and Gold put up a valiant effort but fell just short of pulling off the upset, losing by a score of 55-51.
The beginning of the game did not go as planned for the Jackets, as the Flying Dutch capitalized on 13 DC turnovers to open up a 21-9 lead with six minutes remaining in the first frame. Defiance used a 7-0 run in the last two minutes of the half to cut the deficit to five, as the Jackets trailed 23-18 going into the break.
An Erica King jumper to open the second half pulled the Jackets within a single possession, as the Purple and Gold were only down 23-20. Thomas More abruptly responded by using a 15-2 run over a five-minute span to give the Flying Dutch a comfortable 16 point advantage, its biggest lead of the evening.
Defiance showed its resilience and refusal to give up, as the Jackets managed to slowly chip away at the lead and once again pulled to within three points with just under three minutes remaining in the contest. Sophomore Megan Zachrich led the 23-10 run, scoring 10 points during the stretch.
Leading by only three, Thomas More's Katie Kitchen hit a crucial trey to extend the lead to six points with just over two minutes to play. Defiance answered by draining back-to-back jumpers by Hannah Harshman and Zachrich to make it a two-point game at 51-49 with 56 seconds left on the clock. After a missed Thomas More three, DC's Erica King hoisted up a three-point attempt to take the lead, but the shot would not fall for the reigning HCAC three-point shooter. Thomas More converted all four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds to survive the Yellow Jacket scare and win by a score of 55-51.
Defiance outrebounded the Flying Dutch 36-32 and recorded 12 steals on 20 Thomas More turnovers. However, the Jackets were done in by their inability to convert from the charity stripe and protect the ball. The Purple and Gold shot 46.2% on 6-13 shooting from the free throw line and turned the ball over 24 times.
Individual leaders for DC were Zachrich, King and Kim Comden, each of whom produced double-digit scoring performances. Zachrich led the team with 17 points on 7-13 shooting and added five steals, four rebounds, three assists and one block. Comden recorded her fourth career double-double, as the senior led the team on the glass with 11 boards and added 12 points on 6-10 shooting. King contributed 14 points and connected on three shots from beyond the arc.
The Purple and Gold are back in action on Saturday, November 17 to face the tourney host, Centre University, in the final day of the tournament. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.