DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Yellow Jackets women's basketball squad edged out the Anderson Ravens 61-53 on Thursday, February 6 to snap a three-game losing streak and grab their fifth Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory this season. [Video Highlights]
Defiance (8-12, 5-8 HCAC) trailed at the half, but was able to shut down the Ravens (2-18, 1-12 HCAC) in the second period to walk out of the Karl H. Weaner with an important conference win.
Throughout much of the first half, DC struggled to find a rhythm at the offensive end, while AU was able to get to the rim relatively easy. With 8:14 left in the period, the Ravens had built up their biggest lead of the game at 24-17.
However, the Purple and Gold strung together some solid possessions to close out the first 20 minutes of play and only trailed 32-31 heading into the locker room for intermission.
Coming into the matchup Anderson ranked dead last in the Heartland Conference in field goal percentage at 35.4 percent, but were hot in the first period. The Ravens connected on 13-of-24 (54.2) attempts from the field, while the Lady Jackets struggled by shooting 8-of-25 (32.0).
After a lousy defensive effort in the first half, Defiance stepped up the intensity in the second period and made scoring scarce for the Ravens. DC was able to hold AU to zero points in the first five minutes of the half to get back on top 38-32.
But Anderson quickly responded with three scores on its next four possession to reclaim the lead 39-38 with 13:02 to go.
The Yellow Jackets and the Ravens then battled over the next seven and a half minutes, resulting in four lead changes. However, with 5:25 left in regulation Anderson held a slim 48-45 advantage.
Fortunately, the Purple and Gold had one last push in them, as it pieced together a 12-0 surge that put DC up 57-48 with 36 seconds remaining on the clock.
AU attempted to get back into the game by sending Defiance to the free throw line, but the Jackets knocked down their attempts from the charity stripe to close out a 61-53 victory. A key to the win was the Purple and Gold's success from the charity stripe, making a season-high 24-of-29 freebies (82.8).
DC's defense stifled the Ravens to 7-of-29 (24.1) shooting in the second period. AU finished the contest 20-of-53 (37.7), while the Lady Jackets shot 16-of-49 (32.7). On the glass, Defiance just edged out the Ravens (38-36), while Anderson had one less turnover at (13-14).
It was a well-rounded effort for the Purple and Gold, as each Yellow Jacket that got on the court scored. Hannah Harshman (Ohio City, Ohio / Parkway) paced the Jackets with team highs of 14 points and five assists to go along with five rebounds. The senior was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Ashley Williams (Leipsic, Ohio / Pandora-Gilboa) and Ashley Birchmeier (Vaughnsville, Ohio / Columbus Grove) each drained a pair of three's and chalked up 10 and nine points, respectively. Erica King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) added eight points and moved into 12th on DC's all-time scoring list, as she now has 1,144 points.
After the game, head coach Jessica (Cox) Morris stated "The girls hung together tonight when it wasn't pretty and it would have been easy to throw in the towel in the first period. But we got things fixed in the second half and upped our intensity and that helped us get the win."
The Yellow Jackets will rest for only one day, as they return to action Saturday, February 8 to take on the Mount St. Joseph Lions (2-17, 2-11 HCAC). Tip will take place at 1 p.m.