DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College women's basketball team outscored the Manchester (Ind.) University Spartans, 18-2, in the fourth quarter on their way to a 63-33 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
The Yellow Jackets were paced by senior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry), who scored 23 points on eight-of-14 shooting (57.1 percent) from the floor, along with seven-of-10 (70.0 percent) from the charity stripe. Tietje also dominated the boards, grabbing a season-high 18 on the night to go along with a team-high four blocked shots. Her performance is the sixth 20-point, 10-rebound performance of the season through six contests.
Senior guards Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) and Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) added eight points apiece, while senior Keri Conine (Ottawa/Pandora-Gilboa) and junior Mekai White (Cincinnati/Winton Woods) each scored seven. White also led the team with four steals.
The Yellow Jackets finished the contest shooting 39.7 percent (23-of-58) overall, and 33.3 percent (six-of-18) from beyond the arc. Manchester shot just 24.1 percent (14-of-58) from the floor in the loss. The Yellow Jackets also handled the boards, winning that battle, 46-36, while turning the ball over three less times than the Spartans, 16-13.
After the Spartans opened the game with a quick triple, Tietje and Conine added back-to-back jumpers to give DC the early 4-3 advantage. With the game tied at 5-5, White added a triple and Conine split a pair of free-throws to put Defiance ahead by four points, before the Spartans scored four of the final five points of the stanza to take a 10-9 lead after a quarter of play.
The Yellow Jackets opened the second quarter on a 9-2 spurt that included buckets from four different starters, giving DC a 19-11 lead at the 5:29 mark. The Spartans cut the deficit to six points before a jumper from Williams and a lay-in by Tietje, put the DC lead into double digits at 25-15. Manchester split a pair of free-throws before a deuce from sophomore Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) gave the Yellow Jackets their largest lead of the half at 27-16. Manchester added a jumper to end the half, the Jackets maintained a 27-18 halftime edge.
The Spartans started the third quarter with a 7-2 run to narrow the deficit to 29-24 with 5:41 left in the third. But DC answered with nine straight points, six of them coming from Tietje and the other three coming from a triple by Smay, to get the Yellow Jacket lead to 38-24 at the 2:45 mark. The Spartans pulled to within 10 points again, but a jumper from Tietje and a layup from White to end the third, put Defiance ahead, 45-31.
Manchester opened the fourth quarter with a jumper, but Defiance then began to pull away, scoring the final 18 points of the contest. Williams started the explosion by hitting two triples, sandwiched between a bucket by White. Tietje added another bucket and then an "and-one" by Ervin put the Defiance lead at 57-33. The exclamation point then came from freshman Liz Martin (Bellefontaine) with a triple from the corner, resulting in a 30-point lead for Defiance and a final score of 63-33.
The Jackets wrap up a three-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 10 when they host Hanover (Ind.) College at the Weaner Center. The game is part of a basketball twinbill with the DC men's team. The women's game is set for a 1 p.m. tip, with the men's game to follow at 3 p.m.