The Franklin College women’s basketball team started slow Wednesday night, but there was no panic.
When it came time to put it in gear, the Grizzlies showed their grit and determination down the stretch to edge visiting Rose-Hulman 41-36.
The Fightin’ Engineers (12-12, 8-9 HCAC) raced to an 11-2 lead and held Franklin without a field goal in the first 10 minutes of play before Franklin sophomore guard Mandy Fisher hit a jump shot.
With a distinct height advantage, Rose-Hulman converted six layups in the opening half.
Franklin junior forward Katie Brewer helped the Grizzlies get back into form with some nifty under-the-basket play with last than six minutes to play, but Rose-Hulman stayed out in front at the half 21-15.
Senior guard Sheree Williams upped the Engineers lead to 24-15 in the opening minute of the second half with a 3-pointer.
A timeout by Franklin coach Dana Hagenjos seemed to be just the fuel the Grizzlies needed.
Down by 10 points, the Grizzlies went on a 10-0 run.
With Brewer and senior forward Nichole Thompson working their magic down low, sophomore guard Madi Kolthoff came up big with a deep 3-pointer.
And on the next possession, senior forward Lindsey Dall hit a reverse layup to tie the score at 29-all.
Rose-Hulman came back with layups by Williams and sophomore forward Jamie Loving as the Engineers retook the lead at 33-29.
But Franklin College answered with another jumper by Kolthoff and a layup by Thompson to tie the score at 34-all with 7:40 left.
From that point, the Grizzlies held their opponent to just two free throws.
Brewer broke the tie, hitting one of two free throws, and Thompson got free underneath to give the Grizzlies a 37-34 lead with just over two minutes left.
The two Rose-Hulman free throws by junior Carrie Morris were the only points scored by the Engineers in the final eight minutes.
Franklin sealed the win with another layup by Dall on a bounce-pass assist from sophomore guard Mandy Fisher in addition to a pair of free throws by Thompson with 14 seconds left.
Not one player for Franklin reached double figures in the low-scoring affair. Thompson led the way with nine points, and Dall tossed in eight for the winners. Brewer and Dall each had eight rebounds.
For Rose-Hulman, Gracie Gibbs was high scorer with 11 points.
Despite shooting 20 percent (6 of 29) in the first half, Franklin hit 16 of 50 (.320) and only 7 of 17 at the free-throw line.
Rose-Hulman was 13 of 45 (.289) from the floor and 7 of 13 at the stripe.
With the win, Franklin (13-10, 11-6) remains in fourth place in the league standings with one regular-season game left against conference foe Defiance on Saturday.
The top six teams qualify for the conference tournament, set to begin next week.