ERIE, PA. -- The Defiance College women's basketball team traveled to Erie, Pa. to open the 2016-17 campaign against Penn State-Behrend and came away with an 80-65 victory against the Lions behind a 22-point, 16-rebound effort from senior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry).
The Yellow Jackets also got big performances from senior guards Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) and Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa). Smay finished the night with 19 points, shooting eight-of-13 from the floor, while adding five boards and five assists. Williams added 16 points and seven rebounds.
Also in double digits in the rebounding category was sophomore Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) who grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with eight points.
Defiance (1-0) never trailed in the game and led by as many as three points in the opening minutes of the first quarter. DC held a slim, 15-14, advantage with 1:12 to play when the Yellow Jackets got some breathing room with a 7-0 scoring run that began with a Tietje layup, followed by a Smay triple to put DC ahead, 20-14. Tietje ended the quarter with two freebies as Defiance led 22-14 after the first period.
Freshman Liz Martin (Bellefontaine) opened the second quarter with a three of her own to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 11 points, 25-14. The Jackets went on to lead by as many as 13 points, but PSU-Behrend (0-1) narrowed the gap to eight, 29-21, thanks to five straight points. An ensuing triple by Smay extended the DC lead back to double figures and held on to nine-point margin, 34-25, at the halftime break.
PSU-Behrend continued to cut into the lead, getting to within five points, 38-33, in the early stages of the third quarter. DC maintained a five-point advantage, 41-36 at the 6:05 mark when back-to-back jumpers from senior Keri Conine (Ottawa/Pandora-Gilboa) and Smay, followed by a triple by Williams increased the lead back out to double figures at 12 points, 48-36, with 4:42 to go in the period. After a three-pointer by the Lions, the Yellow Jackets ended the period on a 7-2 run to make the score, 55-41, heading into the fourth quarter.
The scoring run conintued in the fourth as Williams began the final quarter with a triple to give the Jackets a 17-point margin, 58-41. DC never relinquished its double-digit lead the rest of the way and went on to lead by as many as 20 points, 73-53, following a three-point play by Ervin with 4:19 to go in the game. PSU-Behrend scored the final three points of the game, but Defiance already had the game in hand, and went on to post the 73-56 final.
Defiance will return to action tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 19) as they wrap-up play at the Penn State-Behrend Tip-Off Tournament in a matchup with Waynesburg (Pa.) University. The game is set to tip-off at 3 p.m.