She may not be the biggest player on the court, but when it comes to playing big, Franklin College sophomore Lauren DeSutter seems to rise to the occasion.
A 5-foot-5 point guard, DeSutter scored a career-high 28 points to lead the host Grizzlies to a 69-50 victory Saturday against visiting Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Mount St. Joseph.
The win kept Franklin (9-7, 7-3 HCAC) tied for second with Bluffton and Hanover in the league standings, three games behind Transylvania.
DeSutter got the Grizzlies off to quick start by scoring 12 of their first 15 points.
For the game, DeSutter connected on 11 of 17 from the field, including four 3-pointers.
“I was definitely feeling it in pregame,” DeSutter said. “I got my legs going and my shot down really well, so my confidence kept building. We did a really good job of moving the ball.
“By driving the ball, my teammates were able to kick it out, and I just happened to be the one with open shots and was able to knock them down. By hitting those, I was able to gain the confidence that I have needed all season.”
On the importance of staying in the HCAC race, DeSutter said the team has plenty of opportunities.
“It’s just a matter of playing consistent basketball and good defense,” she said.
The Grizzlies went on an 18-2 run in the opening half and never looked back. Their defense, meanwhile limited the Lions to 28.9 percent shooting from the field.
With a 37-20 advantage at the break, Franklin substituted freely in the second half.
Freshman guard Kelsey Smith played exceptional defense for the Grizzlies and tallied 11 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Nichole Thompson, who has started for injured Katie Brewer in the last three games, added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Madi Kotlhoff came off the bench to score nine points including a pair of 3-pointers.
While the conference schedule at the halfway point, Franklin has two games this week. It plays at Manchester on Wednesday and at Anderson on Saturday.