COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Franklin College women's basketball team capped off their non-conference schedule on Saturday (Dec. 30) afternoon, taking on Denison in their final contest of the 2017 Capital Holiday Tournament.
Freshman Bayleigh Walker finished with a game-high 23 points, picking up her third 20-point performance of the season and earning a spot on the all-tournament team. But Franklin (3-7) fell behind in the second half and trailed Denison (6-7) for the rest of the day, dropping a 71-63 decision to the Big Red.
The Grizzlies started the game a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor, and held a 13-12 lead before their first miss of the afternoon. Franklin would connect on 10-of-14 field goals in the first quarter and hold a 25-19 lead after 10 minutes of play.
The Denison defense would hold the Grizzlies in check in the second quarter, but Franklin held a 33-28 lead with 4:27 to play in the half after an Erin Bradley three-point play. The Grizzlies would connect on just one field goal the remainder of the first half, and Denison would take a 36-35 lead into the locker room.
Both teams struggled to get going in the second half, combining for one field each over the first five minutes of the second half. A quick 8-2 run from the Big Red late in the third quarter propelled Denison to a 50-47 lead when the horn sounded to end the third quarter.
Franklin would stay within one possession early in the fourth quarter, getting within a point at 53-52 with 8:22 left after a Bradley free throw. Denison would counter with back-to-back buckets on offense while holding Franklin off the scoreboard to make it 58-52 with five minutes to play.
Kelsey Smith knocked down a long three-pointer with 2:33 to play to get the Grizzlies within two at 65-63, but Franklin would go scoreless the rest of the way while Denison would close out the game at the free throw line.
Bradley's eight points ranked second on the Grizzlies while the Bedford, Ind.-native led the team with six rebounds and four steals. Krista Sutherland chipped in with seven points and five boards off the bench for Franklin. The Grizzlies shot 37.7 percent (23-for-61) from the floor on Saturday afternoon, going 4-for-14 from three and 13-for-16 at the line.
Denison held a 40-33 advantage in the rebounding battle while the Grizzlies forced 17 Big Red turnovers on the night.
Franklin will resume Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play this coming Wednesday (Jan. 3) night, heading to North Manchester, Ind. for a showdown against the Manchester Spartans. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.