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Defiance Drops Season Opener to No. 11 Hope (Mich.)

Defiance Drops Season Opener to No. 11 Hope (Mich.)

DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College women's basketball team fell just short of Hope (Mich.) College, 70-61, in a non-conference game and season opener at the Karl H. Weaner Center.

Junior center Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) led the Yellow Jacket offense with a game-high 23 points while shooting nine-of-14 from the field (64.3 percent) and added a game-high 16 rebounds to earn her first double-double of the season. Freshman guard Shelby Stamm (Bellevue) added 11 points (three-for-five from the three point line) and three rebounds. Freshman forward Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) rounded out the high scorers with eight points.

Hope (1-0) started the game with back-to-back buckets, taking an early 4-0 lead over Defiance (0-1). Junior guard Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) cut the lead in half after a quick bucket off of a pass from sophomore guard Whitney Schalk (Bellevue). The Flying Dutch then went on a 5-0 scoring run to lead by as many as seven points, 9-2, in the period.  The Yellow Jackets answered with a 5-0 run of their own, which included a jumper from Tietje and a three-pointer from Stamm to cut the lead down to two with just under five minutes left in the first quarter. The Yellow Jacket defense held Hope to just one more bucket in the first period, ending the quarter trailing 11-7.

Tietje started the second quarter with a bucket in the paint to cut the lead to two points at the 9:36 mark. Two points was the closest the Yellow Jackets would get in the first half, however, as they trailed by as many as 11 points, 28-17, with under two minutes to play. Defiance did not let up and was rewarded off of a jumper by Ervin and a steal which led to a layup by Stamm to cut the lead to seven points, ending the half down 31-24.

In the second half, Defiance crept closer and got within three points of the Flying Dutch, but after back-and-forth baskets, Hope started to pull away leading by as many as 13 points, 45-32, with three minutes left in the quarter. Buckets by Ervin and Tietje helped the Yellow Jackets inch closer, but Hope answered with a bucket of their own with just four second left to finish the third ahead, 50-37.

Going into the fourth, Hope was gaining momentum until back-to-back threes from Williams and junior guard Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) took the wind out the Flying Dutch's sails. After two free-throws from Hope, Defiance struck again with the long ball after another set of back-to-back threes this time from Smay and Stamm, cutting the deficit to three points, 54-51. Despite valiant efforts, three points was the closest Defiance got to taking the lead against Hope and ultimately fell by a final score of 70-61.

Defiance shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) from the field for the game, including 66.7 percent (nine-of-19) from the charity stripe and held Hope to 37.3 percent shooting (25-of-67). The Flyting Dutch was led in scoring by Victoria Swift who was the only player in double figures with 19 points on seven-of-13 (53.8 percent) shooting.

The Yellow Jackets travel to Wheaton, Ill. to compete in the two-day Wheaton (Ill.) College Beth Baker Classic on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 20-21. Defiance will take on nationally-ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Friday with tipoff set for 1 p.m.