FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College women's basketball team welcomed one of the top teams in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) to town on Wednesday (Feb. 6) night, taking on the league's second place team in the Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers.
Freshman Destinee Cross finished the night with a career-high 15 points to lead all Franklin (6-15, 4-11 HCAC) players. But the rest of the Franklin offense struggled against the Engineers' (16-6, 13-2 HCAC) league-leading scoring defense, dropping a 50-35 defensive showdown.
Rose-Hulman opened a 5-0 lead with buckets on each of their first two possessions, but the Grizzly defense would stifle the Engineers over the final nine minutes of the opening quarter. Franklin would score the game's next eight points, but went scoreless over the final 5:41 of the quarter and trailed the Engineers 9-8 after 10 minutes of play.
The two sides played to a stand-still in the second quarter, exchanging the lead four times without either side leading by more than one possession. Franklin held their largest lead of the night when a Bayleigh Walker jumper was followed by a Mallory Cast three that made it 16-13 with five minutes to go in the half, but the Engineers closed out the half on a 6-2 run to take a 19-18 lead into the break. The Grizzly defense did their part in the opening 20 minutes, holding Rose to just 19 percent shooting.
The game's deciding run came over the first five minutes of the second half, with Rose-Hulman opening the third quarter on an 11-2 run to extend their lead to double figures for the first time at 30-20 with 5:29 showing on the clock. The Engineers would win the quarter 16-6 and take a 35-24 lead into the final quarter of play. Franklin was able to get the deficit down to single digits early in the fourth quarter, but wouldn't come closer than eight points the rest of the night.
Franklin's defense limited the Engineers to just 32.8 percent (19-for-58) shooting on the night with Rose going 4-for-14 from three and 8-for-12 from the line. Walker finished as the Grizzlies' second leading scorer, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds on the night.
Next up for the Grizzlies is the start of a three-game road trip that opens on Saturday (Feb. 9) afternoon with a trip east to face Mount St. Joseph University. Tip-off from the Harrington Center in Cincinnati, Ohio is set for 1:00 p.m.