TERRE HAUTE, IND. – The Defiance College women's basketball team ends regular-season play with a loss to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponent Rose-Hulman (Ind.) Institute of Technology by a final score of 61-48.
Junior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) led the Yellow Jacket offense with a game-high 20 points (five-of-17 shooting) and grabbed a game-high 20 boards to notch her 16th double-double of the season. Junior Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) was second on the team with nine points (three-of-six shooting) and junior Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) and freshman Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) had six points each.
Rose-Hulman (22-3, 16-2 HCAC) took an early 4-0 lead over Defiance (7-18, 6-12 HCAC) before Ervin cut the lead in half after two successful free throws, 4-2 with 7:40 on the clock. The Yellow Jackets then went on an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 10-4, at the 2:45 minute mark. The Fightin' Engineers answered with five points of their own before Tietje finished the quarter scoring two free-throws to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to, 12-9, at the end of the first 10 minutes of play.
The second quarter saw the back-and-forth action as the Engineers scored the first three points to run almost two minutes off the clock and take back the lead, 13-12. Tietje found the basket twice more with a layup and free-throw to give the lead back to the Yellow Jackets 15-13 at the 6:36 minute mark. Rose-Hulman would not give up that easily and went on a mini 6-3 run to once again take the lead and make the score 19-18, with just over four minutes to play. The Yellow Jackets had the lead two more times before the Engineers outscored the Jackets 6-1 to regain the lead for a final time, 27-24, heading into the locker rooms.
The two teams traded baskets to start the third quarter before Rose-Hulman scored seven unanswered points to extend their lead to 36-27 with 4:11 on the clock. Tietje answered with a basket of her own at the 3:27 minute mark making the score, 36-29, on the next possession. Rose-Hulman spent the last three-and-a-half minutes outscoring Defiance 7-2 to end the quarter ahead, 43-31.
The first several minutes of the fourth saw teeter-totter action as the teams alternated baskets to bring the score to 49-38 at the 6:48 minute mark. A scoring lag that lasted two minutes was cut short by a basket from Rose-Hulman, which led to the Engineers outscoring the Jackets, 12-10, to end the quarter and finalize the 61-48 victory in favor of RHIT.
The Yellow Jackets will face Franklin (Ind.) College at Franklin, Ind. on Tuesday, Feb. 23 in the first round of the HCAC Tournament. The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.