It had been 11 days since its last game, so Franklin College women’s basketball coach Jennifer Lodge couldn’t help but wonder what kind of production she’d get out of her team Saturday night.
She didn’t have to wait long.
The Grizzlies came out strong against Benedictine University of Illinois with some very accurate shooting en route to a 54-45 victory.
Sophomore guard Katie Dale, a graduate of Roncalli High School, came off the bench and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Grizzlies up 23-8 with seven minutes left in the half.
While their opponents had a size advantage, Franklin was quicker and able to score in transition.
The Grizzlies’ superior ball-movement kept their turnovers low in the first half, and with their scoring spread around, the two teams went to the break with Franklin holding a 27-16 lead.
In an effort to get the team ready for the game, Lodge emphasized getting back to basics.
“We had a really tough practice the first day back. They were complaining that their legs were sore, so we put them through a sprints test,” said Lodge. “No one else is doing that. They knew they had to come back in shape. I told them in December you’re either a team that goes forward or goes backward and we want to go forward.”
The Grizzlies upped their margin to 40-21 with only six minutes elapsed in the second half.
From there it looked like smooth-sailing.
However, with Franklin holding a 48-32 advantage, Benedictine rallied in the final three minutes of play to close the gap to seven points at 52-45. They could get no closer.
Senior guard Lindsay Rich had a game-high 14 points. Sophomore Nichole Thompson, a graduate of Greenwood Community High School, added 13 points and seven rebounds, while junior forward Krista Schott scored 11 points to go with nine boards.
Leading the way for the Eagles (5-7) with 11 points was Michelle Gaede.
Franklin’s defense held Benedictine to just 26-percent (15 of 58) shooting and forced 18 turnovers. The Grizzlies won the rebounding battle, 51-32.
Franklin (8-3, 2-2 HCAC) resumes play in the Heartland Conference against host Transylvania on Wednesday.