ALBION, Mich. – After the DC women's basketball team trailed by 19 early in the second half, it put together a run that cut the deficit to a triple with just under three minutes left in the game before falling to the Olivet Comets 61-56 in the second day of the Albion Tournament.
The Purple and Gold fall to 3-7 on the year, while the Comets up their record to an impressive 9-2 mark on the 2013-14 campaign.
In a matchup with one of the top centers in National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. III, freshman Kelsey Tietje (Deshler, Ohio / Patrick Henry) held her own against Olivet's Stefanie Lang and gave the Yellow Jackets a chance to win late in the non-conference contest.
Out of the gate, Tietje connected on DC's first two scores that put it on top 4-2 in the first three minutes. That advantage however, would not last long and end up being the only lead of the game for Defiance.
The Comets got hot with a 22-8 surge that gave the MIAA opponent a commanding first-half lead. The Purple and Gold were able to slice the deficit down to six with just under four minutes left in the period, but Olivet closed out the half strong and led 40-29 going into the locker room.
After the halftime break, the Jackets came out flat in the first four minutes and the Comets opened up their biggest lead of the game at 50-31. But slowly, DC began to climb its way out of the hole it had dug.
Within four minutes, Tietje's first hit from behind the arc this season cut the Olivet advantage to 11 and then she nailed a jumper to make the score 51-45 with 9:22 remaining.
The big momentum shift cooled the Comets down for a second, but they were able to withstand the big run by the Yellow Jackets. Over the next seven-plus minutes, the squads traded baskets that kept DC just out of striking distance.
A triple by senior Erica King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) then closed the gap to 55-52 with 2:50 left on the clock. But Defiance did not come any closer and the Comets came away with the hard-earned victory and a 2-0 mark from the weekend competition.
There were a lot of positives to pull from the tough loss to a solid 9-2 Olivet squad. Defensively, the Purple and Gold held the Comets to 61 points, which was 16 below their season average and third-lowest scoring total of the season. It was the fourth-straight opponent DC has been able to hold under 66 points.
In terms of shooting, Defiance posted better marks from all three phases. DC shot 20-of-46 (43.5 percent) from the field to Olivet's 24-of-62 (38.7 pct.), hit 5-of-11 (45.5 pct.) from distance to the Comets 3-of-13 (23.1 pct.) and bested the MIAA foe from the charity stripe 10-of-15 (66.7 pct.) to 11-of-17 (64.7 pct.).
However, turnovers stung the Yellow Jackets once again, as it racked up 23, which was almost double Olivet's total (12). On the glass, the Purple and Gold held a slim 36-35 advantage.
Leading DC in scoring for the seventh time this year was Tietje 20 (9-of-11). It was her fourth 20-point performance of the season. The freshman center also added nine rebounds, along with a block and a steal.
Senior Hannah Harshman (Ohio City, Ohio / Parkway) also put together a solid night across the stat sheet. The forward posted totals of 11 points, five boards, four assists and four steals, while not having a single turnover.
Defiance will return to action after the New Year, when it travels to Indiana for a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup with the Hanover Panthers. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 4th.