DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College women's basketball team hosted Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Bluffton University and lost a hard fought battle, 76-70.
Junior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) led the Yellow Jackets with a game-high 24 points (11-of-18 shooting) and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds to notch her eighth double-double of the season. Junior Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) scored 12 points (four-of-six shooting). Freshman Sam Ervin (Bloomdale) rounded out the top scorers with 10 points (five-of-14 shooting).
Defiance (3-13, 2-7 HCAC) put the pressure on the undefeated Bluffton University Beavers (16-0, 9-0 HCAC) right away by scoring the first four points of the game that included buckets from Tietje and Ervin. Back-and-forth baskets brought the game to the first tie, 6-6 at the 6:07 minute mark. The Beavers then grabbed a lead before junior Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) hit a three-pointer to give the Yellow Jackets a two-point lead, 11-9 with 3:50 on the clock. Defiance led the rest of the quarter until a buzzer-beater from the Beavers tied the score 15-15 at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter began with a bucket from the Beavers before Williams scored a three-pointer to put Defiance back ahead by one point, 18-17 just 30 seconds into play. The lead changed seven more times throughout the remainder of the quarter, but the Beavers would take a five-point lead into halftime, 34-29.
In the third, the Beavers started with a 5-0 run to boost their lead to 10 points, 39-29 with 8:11 on the clock. The Yellow Jackets eventually pulled to within three points after a layup from sophomore Whitney Schalk (Bellevue), 41-38 with 6:32 left to play. Defiance got within three points, on two more occasions before the final time came with a late jumper from Tietje to end the quarter and make the score 54-51.
With momentum on the Yellow Jacket's side, Tieje began the fourth quarter with another two points to bring the Yellow Jackets within striking distance, 54-53. Bluffton answered with four unanswered points before sophomore Brittany Osborne (Union City, Ind. /Union City) cut the lead to two points, 58-56 with 6:58 left on the clock. The teams continued their up-and-down pace until Ervin scored a layup to bring the Yellow Jackets within four points, 74-70, with just seconds remaining. That ended up being the closest Defiance could get at regaining the lead as a pair free-throws from the Beavers sealed the victory in favor of the visiting team, 76-70.
Defiance will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 23 when they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to face Mount St. Joseph University in HCAC play. The game will be a part of a basketball doubleheader with the Yellow Jacket men's team. The women's game will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the men at 3 p.m.