Superior guard play and an ability to drive the lane powered Manchester University to a 57-45 win against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Franklin College in women’s basketball Wednesday night.
For the Grizzlies, it was their first setback in league play after starting 4-0. Meanwhile, Manchester improved to 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the HCAC.
The game had early signs of what would be an uncharacteristic night for Franklin.
The Spartans got out to a 12-6 lead on three fast-break layups triggered by guards Alyssa Smith and Katie Arterburn.
Arterburn knocked down three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of play as Manchester jettisoned to a 26-12 lead while Franklin struggled with turnovers.
Manchester’s defense played big in the Grizzlies’ poor first-half shooting, limiting its opponent to only 8 of 24 shooting from the field.
The Spartans repeatedly clogged the passing lanes and limited Franklin to just one shot on the offensive end most of the night.
A steal and a layup by Franklin sophomore Sarah Taylor pulled the Grizzlies within 25-19, but Manchester answered with two quick buckets, giving the Spartans a 29-21 edge at the break.
With renewed energy, Franklin sliced the lead to five points on a conventional three-point play by sophomore guard Mandy Fisher
in the opening minute of the second half.
Manchester senior center Alyssa Hammond, who finished with a game-high 13 points, provided most of the firepower in the second half.
The Grizzlies’ second-half
shooting wasn’t much better
than the first half and prevented the hosts from making a legitimate comeback.
The closest Franklin would get would be six points at 47-41 with just under five minutes remaining.
Arterburn and Smith each had 11 points for the winners.
Franklin senior forward
Nichole Thompson scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the second half. Junior Katie Brewer
and sophomore guard Mandy Fisher each had nine points and
Manchester won the battle of the boards 34-25.
Franklin College (6-5, 4-1) hosts conference rival Anderson on Alumnae Day at 2 p.m. Saturday.