DEFIANCE, Ohio – Thanks to an efficient offensive attack, the Franklin College women's basketball team picked up their second win in a row on Saturday, downing Defiance College 73-61 in an HCAC showdown.
The Grizzlies (2-3, 2-1 HCAC) shot a season-best 53.4 percent (31-for-58) from the field on Saturday afternoon, led by freshman Bayleigh Walker's career-high 27 points. Mallory Cast chipped in with 14 points off the bench, as the Grizzlies never trailed the Yellow Jackets (2-5, 1-2 HCAC) in their first conference road game of the year.
"This was a great team win today against a really good Defiance team that I wasn't sure how we would match up with," Head coach Dana Haggenjos said after the game. "We executed our game plan well and our defense came up big at times. The biggest thing is that we were finally able to get our offense rolling and get everyone easy looks. Bayleigh had a big game for us and really got us going."
Franklin came flying out of the gate, opening the contest with an 8-2 run to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Defiance would chop the Franklin lead down to 10-8, but Franklin would get a buzzer-beating jumper from Cast to make it 18-12 Grizzlies after one period.
Back-to-back jumpers from Kelsey Smith and Walker to open the second quarter put Franklin up by double figured for the first time. Franklin put on a defensive clinic over the final seven minutes of the second quarter, out-scoring the Yellow Jackets 13-5 to take a 37-21 lead into the break.
Franklin's lead remained in double digits throughout the third quarter, but the hosts would begin to make a run early in the final period. Defiance opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run to cut the lead down to eight at 59-51, but Franklin would answer with a 9-0 run of their own to put the game out of reach. The Grizzly lead would grow to as many as 18 points before the final horn sounded.
The Grizzlies put together their best shooting half of the season on Saturday, connecting on 58.3 percent (14-for-24) of their field goals in the second half. Franklin went 2-for-9 from long range and 9-for-14 from the free throw line.
Defensively, the Grizzlies held the Yellow Jackets to 43.6 percent (24-for-55) from the field, as the hosts shot 8-for-19 from three and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Krista Sutherland led the Grizzlies with seven rebounds as Franklin finished the day with a 33-26 edge on the glass. Franklin scored 20 points off Defiance turnover, and the FC bench out-scored the Yellow Jacket reserves, 27-6.
Franklin will have a week off before returning to action next Saturday (Dec. 16), when they open a three-game homestand against Bluffton University. Tip-off from the Spurlock Center is set for 2:00 p.m.