By David Campbell
For the Daily Journal
It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Franklin College women’s basketball team made the plays it needed to make to beat Anderson 54-38 at home Wednesday in a battle of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s final two winless squads.
The Grizzlies committed 24 turnovers and shot less than 40 percent in the first half, but that was more than enough to overwhelm the young Ravens, who finished with 34 turnovers and shot 32 percent for the game.
“We had big eyes and we weren’t executing on offense like we should,” Franklin coach Dana Haggenjos said. “We’re a young team, and when we get comfortable, positive things happen for us. We’re still getting comfortable with the lineups on the floor, and I think that’s been a struggle. Just the consistency in finding out who we are has been the biggest thing.”
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Franklin (1-3, 1-1 HCAC) used its full-court press to get off to a quick start and trailed only once in the game. After Anderson opened the game with a 3-pointer, the Grizzlies’ defense went to work with nine forced turnovers to build a 17-7 lead after just one quarter.
Nine more turnovers led to 14 more points in the second as the Grizzlies took a 31-16 lead into the locker room and cruised from there.
Franklin needed that defense to compensate for an offense that sputtered in the first half. The Grizzlies hit just 37.5 percent (12 of 32) of their shots from the floor, including a dismal 18.2 percent (2 of 11) from 3-point range.
The Grizzlies were better from the floor in the second half, but still finished just 22 of 52 (42.3 percent).
Shooting woes or not, Franklin’s defense was more than enough to carry the day. The young Ravens, with a roster of one senior and 14 freshmen and sophomores, struggled to shoot and take care of the ball.
“Our bread and butter has always been our defense and our goal is to always turn our defense into offense,” Haggenjos said. “We were able to get a couple of easy shots with that. We’re still a work in progress, and eventually we’ll get there.”
Fourteen Grizzlies saw action in the game, with 11 different players scoring. Because of that balance, no player reached double figures, with Kelsey Smith, Isabella Ratliff and Bayleigh Walker each scoring eight. Walker also had five rebounds, while Smith had team highs in assists and steals with three and four, respectively.
Olivia Love led Anderson (0-8, 0-2 HCAC) with 12 points.
Franklin travels to Defiance on Saturday.