The Franklin College women’s basketball team will look back on Wednesday’s victory as a signature win heading into the upcoming Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Grizzlies on the strength of both inside and outside shooting defeated visiting conference rival Transylvania 55-47.
Franklin College improved its overall record to 17-7 and 13-4 in the conference, while the Pioneers fell to 17-7 and 13-4. The teams are in a tie for third place in the league two games back of league leaders Bluffton and Rose-Hulman.
The first round of the conference tournament begins Tuesday, and Franklin has secured a home game against an opponent yet to be determined.
The Grizzlies and Pioneers were tied at the end of the first quarter at 12-all, but Franklin edged its way to a 25-20 halftime advantage on the shooting junior guard Lauren DeSutter’s 11 points.
Transy went on a 7-0 run to start the second half, but midway through the third quarter Franklin got into rhythm with baskets by DeSutter and junior forwards Sarah Taylor and Amber May.
A 10-3 run put Franklin on top at the end of the third period 41-34.
Senior forward Katie Brewer, who was honored in pregame activities as the team’s lone senior, was ineffective in the opening half, hampered by two fouls.
However, in the fourth quarter, when Franklin needed offensive-power, Brewer hit three consecutive field goals inside the paint on passes from Taylor, DeSutter and junior forward Emily Alfrey to give the Grizzlies a 49-43 lead.
Transylvania sliced the lead to four points at 51-47 with 51 second left but would get no closer.
Free throws down the stretch by DeSutter and Taylor sealed the Grizzlies win.
DeSutter had a game-high 20 points to go with a team-leading eight rebounds. Brewer added 12 and Taylor chipped in with 10 points.
Leading the way for Transylvania was senior guard Katelyn Smith with 17 points.
The Grizzlies return to action for their final regular-season game at conference rival Anderson University on Saturday.