DEFIANCE, OHIO – A late 16-0 run from Franklin (Ind.) College proved to be the game-changer in the Defiance College women's basketball loss to the Grizzlies, 47-45, in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
Junior Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) led the Yellow Jacket offense with 12 points, all of which came from behind the arch (four-of-eight shooting). Junior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) added six points (two-of-five shooting) and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Juniors Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) and Keri Conine (Ottawa/Pandora-Gilboa) added five points each.
Defiance (6-15, 5-9 HCAC) looked to keep their current three-game winning streak alive and began the game with a commanding 8-0 lead over Franklin (14-7, 10-4 HCAC) that ran almost five minutes off the clock. The Grizzlies scored their first points of the game at the 5:36 minute mark before back-to-back triples from freshmen Abby Sarabia (Toledo/Whitmer) and Shelby Stamm (Bellevue) boosted the Yellow Jacket lead to 14-2 with 3:35 left on the clock. The teams traded baskets back and forth to wind down the clock and Defiance finished ahead of Franklin 18-6 at the end of the first period of play.
The Grizzlies began the second quarter with a quick layup before Williams connected on a basket from behind the arch at the 8:30 minute mark making the score, 21-8. The teams alternated baskets once more before the Grizzlies went on a short 8-0 run that cut the Yellow Jacket lead to six points, 24-18 with just over two minutes to play. The Grizzlies outscored the Yellow Jackets 3-2 in the final minutes of play to trail DC, 26-20, heading into the locker rooms.
Freshman Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) sparked a 10-3 run that lasted just over seven minutes into the third quarter and extended the Yellow Jacket lead to 13 points, 36-23. The final minutes of the period saw teeter-totter action, but a three-pointer from sophomore Mekai White (Cincinnati/Winton-Woods) would be the last points in the quarter to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 41-27.
Tietje gave the Yellow Jackets their biggest lead of the game with a jumper in the paint to boost the lead to 16 points, 43-27, just seconds into the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies answered with four points of their own before Smay connected on a layup, 45-31, at the 7:51 minute mark. The next several minutes on the clock proved to be the game-changer as the Yellow Jackets went on a scoring drought and were outscored 16-0 by the Grizzlies. The late 16-0 run allowed the Grizzlies to take the lead for the first time in the game with 1:34 left on the clock. Despite efforts from Defiance, the Yellow Jackets were unable to connect and fell to the Grizzlies by a final score of 47-45.
The Yellow Jackets will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 10 when they travel to Bluffton, Ohio to face HCAC rival Bluffton University. The game will be a part of a basketball doubleheader with the Yellow Jacket men's team. The women's game will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.