DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College women's basketball team hosted Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Hanover (Ind.) College and defeated the Panthers to win their second straight game, 76-68.
Junior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) led the Yellow Jacket offense and was the only player to score in double digits with a game-high 29 points (11-of-14 shooting). She also grabbed a game-high 12 boards to record her 11th double-double. Freshmen Abby Sarabia (Toledo/Whitmer) and Shelby Stamm (Bellevue) added eight points a piece.
After recording what was a career-high in assists in her last game, sophomore Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) bettered her previous mark against the Panthers with a game-high 15 assists to go along with four points and seven rebounds.
The first quarter saw seesaw action that included two ties and one lead change before Defiance (5-14, 4-8 HCAC) took the lead over Hanover (8-11, 4-8 HCAC) after junior Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) connected on back-to-back three-pointers to give the Jackets a 12-8 lead. Hanover pulled to within three points, 17-14, before a triple from sophomore Mekai White (Cincinnati/Winton Woods) and a free-throw from Stamm ended the quarter and put the Yellow Jackets ahead, 23-14.
Tietje began the second quarter with a jumper in the paint just 15 seconds into play, to give Defiance their biggest lead of the quarter, 25-14. Hanover began to make a comeback in the latter minutes of the quarter and got within two points on a late basket to end the half, 35-33.
The Panthers came out of the locker rooms looking to take the lead and did so right away after a successful three-pointer on their first possession, 36-35. On DC's ensuing possession, junior Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) put the Yellow Jackets back on top, 37-36. The two teams continued the back-and-forth pace as an 11-4 scoring run by the Panthers would give them their largest lead of the game of six points, 47-41, with just under six minutes left in the third quarter. Defiance rallied with an ensuing 11-1 run that ended in a triple by White to regain the lead for DC with a four-point edge, 52-48, at the 1:55 mark. But Hanover scored the final four points of the period to even things back up at, 52-52, after three quarters of play.
The first points of the final quarter came on a jumper by Tietje to put DC up, 54-52. The bucket turned out to give the Jackets the lead for good, despite Hanover coming back to even the score on two more occasions in the early minutes of the period. The Yellow Jackets began to pull away throughout the quarter and led by as many as nine points, 69-60, after another jumper by Tietje with 3:57 on the clock. The Panthers looked to rally with a 6-0 run that cut the DC lead to three points, 69-66, at the 2:50 mark, but the Jackets sealed the victory at the free-throw line down the stretch and went on to win by the final of 76-68.
The Yellow Jackets will look to keep the winning streak alive when they host Earlham (Ind.) College on Wednesday, Feb. 3 in HCAC play. The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.