HANOVER, IND. – The Defiance College women's basketball team traveled to Hanover, Ind. to face Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Hanover (Ind.) College and lost a heartbreaker in the final seconds, 82-81.
Junior Keri Conine (Ottawa/Pandora-Gilboa) came off the bench and scored a career-high 17 points (five-of-nine shooting). Juniors Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) and Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) both scored 14 points a piece. Junior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) rounded out the top scorers with 13 points (five-of-15 shooting) and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Defiance (1-6, 1-2 HCAC) took control of the game quickly, with an 8-0 run that included two three-pointers from Williams and a layup from Tietje to make the score 8-0 with 7:53 on the clock in the opening quarter. Hanover (3-4, 1-2 HCAC) tried to get their own rally going, but not before the Yellow Jackets went on another short run with buckets from Conine, Tietje and sophomore Brittany Osborne (Union City, Ind. /Union City) making the score 14-2 at the 5:18 minute mark. Back-and-forth baskets from each team ran the clock all the way to the buzzer, with Defiance ahead 24-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Smay was the first to put the Yellow Jackets on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a three-pointer at the 8:07 minute mark for a 27-16 advantage. Defiance led by as-many-as 13 points, 33-20, with 4:51 on the clock, after a layup from freshman Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) off of an assist from Tietje. Hanover looked to rally with nine straight points to pull to within four points of the Yellow Jackets with 3:31 minutes left to play. Alternate baskets from each team ended when sophomore Mekai White (Cincinnati/Winton Woods) made a jumper in the paint to finish out the half, boosting the Defiance lead to 42-34 at the break.
The Yellow Jackets looked to continue to build their lead in the third quarter, but a 5-0 run from the Panthers slowed the Jackets down, until Tietje made two free-throws to put the Yellow Jackets ahead, 44-39 with 6:22 left in the quarter. The see-saw action continued while the clock wound down, but Defiance would see their lead shorten to just a basket, 59-57, at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, the Jackets began the scoring with a layup form Tietje just a few seconds into the quarter, before Hanover took their first lead of the game thanks to a 7-0 run making the score 64-61 at the 8:08 mark. A three-pointer from Smay evened the score, 64-64 with just under eight minutes to play. The lead swapped back and forth through the final seconds, until a three-point play by the Panthers swung momentum back over to Hanover, 80-79, with just 19 seconds left to play. Sophomore Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) turned around and put Defiance back on top by one point, 81-80 with 16 seconds to go thanks to a pair of successful free-throws. In the final seconds, the Panthers were able to regain the lead on a jumper and forced DC into a turnover on its ensuing possession to steal the victory, 82-81.
The Purple and Gold will return to action on Friday, Dec. 18 when they travel to Alliance, Ohio to face the University of Mount Union in non-conference play. The game is set to begin at 5 p.m.