TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Defiance College Yellow Jackets scored their fourth straight victory and leaped into sole possession of fourth place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings with a 75-49 triumph against the Hanover (Ind.) College Panthers.
The Yellow Jackets were led by a dominant performance by senior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry), who scored 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting (78.5 percent) from the floor and also grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with four blocked shots. Senior guard Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) tied a season-high with 19 points on the afternoon to go along with a team-high four assists.
Defiance continued their streak of red-hot shooting, going 28-of-59 (47.5 percent) from the floor, including an even warmer 17-of-30 (56.7 percent) in the opening half. Defiance also shot six-of-15 (40.0 percent) from three-point range and 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) from the free-throw line. Hanover shot just 17-of-62 (27.4 percent) from the floor and six-of-24 (25.0 percent) from beyond the arc.
Defiance jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the opening three minutes, which included Smay and senior Ashley Williams (Leipsic/Pandora-Gilboa) connecting on consecutive triples. Hanover later cut the deficit to two points, 11-9, before the Yellow Jackets scored 11 straight points that resulted in a 22-9 advantage for DC with 2:25 to go in the quarter. The home team cut the deficit to 10 points before Smay scored five straight to give Defiance a 29-14 lead. Hanover stole a fast break layup to end the quarter, but Defiance still maintained a 29-16 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
Tietje scored back-to-back layups to begin the second quarter and increased the margin to 33-16. Still leading by 17 points with just under seven minutes to go before halftime, the Jackets continued to put distance between themelves and their opponent as a layup and a free-throw by Ervin, followed by a Smay jumper, put DC over the 20-point plateau for the first time in the contest with a score of, 42-20, at the 4:21 mark. DC went on to lead by as many as 23 points, 44-21, in the period and took a commanding 46-25 halftime advantage.
DC continued the third quarter where it left off in the second, as the Jackets scored the first 11 points of the period to increase the margin to 32 points, 57-25, with 6:38 left. Defiance recorded its largest lead of the game late in the quarter as part of a 6-0 mini scoring run with a score of 67-32 following a jumper by senior Keri Conine (Ottawa/Pandora/Gilboa). Hanover ended the scoring with a triple to make it a 67-35 game heading into the final period.
With the contest well in hand in the fourth quarter, Hanover outscored the Yellow Jackets, 10-4, in the first 7:46 of the period narrowing the gap to 71-42. Following back-to-back layups by junior Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) to extend the lead back to over 30 points, Hanover tallied the final five points of the game, but DC would cruise to the 75-49 final.
The Yellow Jackets continue their three-game road swing on Wednesday, Feb. 1 with a HCAC contest against Earlham (Ind.) College in Richmond, Ind. The contest is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.