TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Tied 27-27 at the break, the Fightin' Engineers came out and bested the Yellow Jackets in the second half to hand the Defiance women's basketball team its third-consecutive loss by a score of 69-59.
DC (7-12, 4-8 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) had won its two previous games when it had been tied with the opponent at the half. However, it could not continue that streak as, Rose-Hulman (8-11, 6-6 HCAC) was not denied at home for a crucial league victory.
Out of the gates, Rose had the hot hand. A Josie Schmidt jumper less than four minutes in gave the Engineers an early 11-2 advantage over the Purple and Gold.
After RHIT had pushed its lead to 10 at 17-7, Defiance finally started to get its offense into gear. Senior Kim Bingley (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) recorded a pair of layups and senior Ashley Birchmeier (Vaughnsville, Ohio / Columbus Grove) drained back-to-back triples to concluded a 12-0 run that put the Jackets ahead 20-17 with 11:28 left in the first period.
Over the rest of the half, the two teams turned up the defensive pressure. Scoring was not easy to come by, as the DC and Rose combined for 11 points in the next nine and a half minutes. But each squad connected on a three pointer with under 120 seconds left on the clock and the score sat even at 27-27 heading into the break.
To begin the second half, the Fightin' Engineers got off to a solid start like they had in the first. Just over five minutes in, Rose-Hulman was able to snap the tie ball game and get ahead 36-31.
However, the Lady Jackets responded with a quick 9-3 scoring surge. Birchmeier's fourth triple of the night capped off the run that propelled the Purple and Gold to a 40-39 lead with 11:11 left in the game.
But RHIT fired right back by scoring the next 11 points in front of its home crowd. The run put Rose back up by 10 with just under seven minutes remaining in regulation. The Engineers continued to feed off their strong play and pushed ahead to their largest lead of the game at 58-44 with 4:36 to go.
DC never gave up though, as they were able to trim down the deficit to 63-57 with 60 seconds left on the clock. But it was too little too late for the Lady Jackets, as Rose-Hulman hit its free-throws down the stretch to earn the 69-59 victory. The win gave the Engineers a season sweep of the Purple and Gold for the first time since 2006-07.
DC put together a decent mark from the field on the night by shooting 20-of-48 (.416 percent), but allowed RHIT to shoot 25-of-57 (.438) from the floor. The Engineers also bested the Jackets on the glass for the second time this season by outrebounding DC 36-29. 21 turnovers by the Purple and Gold did also not help its cause in the outing.
Birchmeier led Defiance in scoring on the afternoon with 12 points and three rebounds. All of her points came from behind the arc, as she went 4-of-7 from distance. The fourth-year guard has now connected on 7-of-12 triple tries in her last two games.
Bingley also played well across the stat line. The forward came off the bench to chalk up 11 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks. Kelsey Tietje (Deshler, Ohio / Patrick Henry) added nine points and seven rebounds on the night. The outstanding freshman center has been held under 10 points only two times this season and they have both come against Rose.
The Yellow Jackets next contest will be a home affair against the Anderson Ravens on Wednesday, February 5. The night game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.