DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Defiance women's basketball team fought tooth and nail with defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Transylvania, but the Yellow Jackets dropped a close contest to the Pioneers 65-59 on Saturday, December 14. [Video Highlights]
It was a special day at the Karl H. Weaner Center, as senior guard Erica King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) eclipsed the 1,000 career point milestone. The Wauseon, Ohio native became only the 19th member of the 1,000 point club in Defiance College Women's Basketball history.
King is the first Yellow Jacket to accomplish the feat since Mandy White in 2010. King has competed in 84 contests over her career and averaged 12.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game. This is the second milestone King has reached for the Purple and Gold, as she is also DC's career leader in three point field goals made and attempted.
It didn't take King long to get the five points needed to reach 1,000. The shooting guard drained the first bucket of the game with a hit from behind the arc and then knocked down a pair from the charity stripe for the DC's first five points.
However, the full-court press from Transylvania was trouble for the Purple and Gold early on. Multiple turnovers by the Jackets in the backcourt led to easy buckets for the Pioneers. Defiance committed eight turnovers in the first eight minutes and it was a big factor to TU's 17-8 lead.
With 6:33 left to play in the first period, a Madison Webb three pointer gave Transy an 11-point advantage at 30-19. But DC responded with a 7-0 run of its own that was sparked by senior Maggie Neanen (Eaton, Ohio / Eaton) off the bench.
Neanen came into the game and grabbed a rebound right off the bat and then went down the court to drain a jumper just inside the arc. After a block by senior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler, Ohio / Patrick Henry) down at the defensive end, Neanen the got the green light from deep on the following offensive possession and nailed a three. A Kim Bingley (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) layup then made the score 30-24 with 3:37 to play.
But a battle tested Pioneers squad was able to hold off on the scoring spurt by the Purple and Gold and managed to end off the first half with the final six points. Sending the two teams into the intermission at 36-26.
Coming out of the break, the Transylvania defense picked things up a notch and were swarming the Yellow Jackets to force one tough shot after another. Just over four minutes in, DC was held scoreless, as TU pushed its lead to 42-26.
Then at the 8:54 mark, a layup by the Pioneers Jordin Fender gave the visitors their largest lead of the game at 18, making the score 53-35. However, Defiance did not let up and gave Transy all it could handle. DC managed to go on a 12-2 run over the next four and a half minutes to cut the TU advantage to 55-47.
Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, it was too little too late. They were able to get within four points at 61-57 with 32 seconds to play, but that was as close as Defiance got and Transylvania escaped with a big 65-59 conference road win.
Even in the loss, there were a lot of positives to be taken in by the Purple and Gold. As a team, the DC defense held the top scoring offense in the conference to season lows in points (65) and field goal percentage (33.8 percent).
In the game, the Purple and Gold held the edge with a better field goal percentage (43.1 percent) as well as outrebounding the Pioneers 42-36. But TU's constant pressure led to 25 critical turnovers for Defiance that helped give the Pioneers 14 more shots on the evening.
The top scorer in the game was Transylvania's Webb, who had notched 28 points, while shooting a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe. She was followed by a pair of Yellow Jackets in King and Tietje.
King finished 5-of-11 from the floor (3-of-5 from behind the arc) that tied a season high of 17 points. The senior also added three boards and three assists. The freshman center Tietje chalked up 16 points (6-of-9 shooting) to go along with nine rebounds and three blocks.
Other contributors on the evening were Bingley with seven points and seven rebounds and fellow senior Hannah Harshman (Ohio City, Ohio / Parkway) recording six points, seven boards and three assists.
After the game, head coach Jessica (Cox) Morris had some positives take from the loss. "I was so proud of the teams focus today. They stuck to the plan and of what we wanted to do, which was forcing them to beat us from the outside, and unfortunately they did today." Cox added "Our goal is always to hold our opponent to under 60 points, and when Transylvania only had 65 at the end of the game, I was very happy with that. It was a big stepping stone for us."
With the loss, Defiance fell to 2-4 (0-3 HCAC), while the Pioneers moved to 5-1 (3-0 HCAC).
The Yellow Jackets will be back at home next Wednesday, December 18 for their final home game before the Christmas break. DC will be taking on the Trine Thunder and the contest is slated to begin at 7 p.m.