FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Purple and Gold women's basketball team travels back to Defiance, Ohio tonight after a big 57-54 victory over the Franklin Grizzlies on Saturday, January 18. The Yellow Jackets were guided by a fantastic 23-point performance from Erica King, which included a triple with two seconds left to seal the win.
The victory is the first at the Spurlock Center in over 13 seasons and also gives Defiance its first winning streak of the 2013-14 campaign. DC improves to 6-9, 3-5 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, while the Grizzlies have their six-game winning streak snapped and fall to 8-7, 6-2 HCAC.
Franklin got off to a solid start on its home court, scoring the first eight points just under four minutes in. But then King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) and the Purple and Gold started to warm up. The senior guard drained a shot from behind the arc to get the Jackets on the board 8-3 at the 15:55 mark.
DC then continued to chip away at the deficit. After back-to-back three's from King, Defiance held its first lead of the contest at 13-12 with 7:13 remaining in the period. The two squads then battled for lead over the rest of the half.
With 1:18 on the clock, FC's Amber May sunk a jumper to put the home team ahead 23-21. But King was in the zone on the night, as she drained her fifth triple of the half on the following possession and gave DC a 24-23 advantage at the intermission.
Outside of King, it was a rough half shooting for Defiance. The school's career leader in three pointers was 5-of-5 from the field (all from behind the arc), while the rest of the squad combined to go 2-for-21.
Fortunately, the Purple and Gold were playing very well at the defensive end. The Lady Jackets forced 12 Grizzlies turnovers and kept them to a mere 23 points.
In the second half, action continued to be just as tight. Franklin scored first to retake the lead, but a quick six-point spurt capped with a jumper by Kelsey Tietje (Deshler, Ohio / Patrick Henry) gave DC its largest advantage of the night at 30-25 with 16:01 to go.
But the whole period was a story of Defiance getting a small lead and FC answering right back to tie things up. Three times DC pulled ahead by five or more points, only to have the Grizzlies claw their way back to knot the game up. The final surge by the home squad made the game even at 46-46 with 5:32 left on the clock.
Things then got exciting in the final minute and a half of action. With the score squared up at 50-50, a Franklin foul at the 1:17 mark sent Kim Bingley (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) to the line.
The senior forward split the pair to give the Purple and Gold a one-point advantage. However, an offensive rebound on FC's following possession gave them a crucial second-chance look and it capitalized with a layup to go on top 52-51 with 53 seconds remaining.
But the Jackets stung back with a three-point make by Erica Smay (Defiance, Ohio / Tinora) at the other end of the court to retake the lead 54-52. After a DC foul, the Grizzlies went to the charity stripe and connected on both free throws to make the exciting event 54-54 with 30 seconds left.
With the final possession in Defiance's control, it used up the clock till the last five seconds. Tietje was called upon to go for the win but missed on a layup try. However, the ball went out of bounds and DC retained possession. Franklin called a timeout to set up its defense, but it was the Purple and Gold who took advantage.
The Yellow Jackets got the inbounds pass in to Megan Zachrich (Napoleon, Ohio / Napoleon) who dished it to King for a triple with two ticks remaining in regulation. FC could not get an attempt off in the final seconds and the Defiance women's basketball team walked off the court with an exhilarating 57-54 victory.
King's final hit from deep was her seventh of the night, matching the school record she tied last season for three pointers in a single game. Overall, the Wauseon native finished 8-of-12 from the field, while going a blistering 7-of-10 from behind the arc for 23 points. She also added three assists and two rebounds. King moved her career point total to 1,100 with her efforts and is the 16th DC player to reach that mark.
Following King was Tietje with 14 points and six boards. The freshman center was clutch at the free throw line, shooting 8-of-10 on the night.
Even though DC was outrebounded for only the fourth time this year (31-28), the defense did a remarkable job of keeping an efficient Grizzlies offense in check. Defiance held the HCAC's top team in shooting percentage to 37.5 percent on the night and nine points under its season scoring average.
The Yellow Jackets will now return for a two-game home stand starting with the Earlham Quakers (7-8, 3-5 HCAC). Game time in the critical conference clash is slated for Wednesday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m.