It took a 3-pointer by Denison senior guard Mikaela Freundlich with 30 seconds to go to overcome a 13-point deficit to defeat the Franklin College women’s basketball team
53-50 in Friday night’s first round of the Grizzlies Tip-Off Tournament.
First-game jitters and unforced errors by the Grizzlies, whose starting lineup included two freshmen, were evident early on.
While Denison preferred an up-tempo offense, Franklin stayed patient with its half-court game.
The Big Red jumped out to a 17-7 lead on the 3-point shooting of sophomore forward Kellie Arter, who finished the first half with a team-
leading 14 points.
The Grizzlies chipped away at the lead and finally got even at 22-all with less than two minutes before the intermission on a free throw by freshman guard Mandy Fisher.
Franklin had 14 turnovers in the first half to Denison’s 11, but had a 16-15 rebounding advantage.
The Grizzlies came out firing in the second half and went on a 17-2 run led by freshman guard Lauren DeSutter, freshman forward Katie Brewer and senior forward Krista Schott.
Denison didn’t get its first field goal of the second half until the 11-minute mark, with Franklin up by its biggest margin at 39-26.
The Big Red began its comeback with less than six minutes left on a three-pointer from the top of the circle by junior guard Candice Love.
But Franklin responded immediately, as Schott knocked down a pair of free throws to keep the Grizzlies up by 10 at 48-38.
The Grizzlies would score only two more points, a pair of free throws by DeSutter with less than three minutes remaining.
A disappointed second-year coach Jennifer Temple said she needs to do a better job in helping her young team finish after playing with a lead.
“I know our team will learn from this, but I think I need to learn from it, too,” Temple said. “From the rotations I had in there, it just didn’t work, and I didn’t change it when I needed to at that moment. I thought we did a much better job in the second half taking care of the basketball. We just need to be ready to respond and be ready to play when we get out on that court.
“We’ll bounce back. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
For the game, Franklin shot 47.4 percent (18 of 38) and 12 of 24 at the free-throw line.
Denison hit 18 of 50 from the field for 36 percent and 12 of 19 at the stripe.
DeSutter had a team-high 12 points for the Grizzlies, and Schott added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Brewer scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds. Junior forward Lindsey Dall also scored eight points.
For Denison, Arter led all scorers with 17 points. Senior forward Gretchen Staubach added 14 points.
Freshman center Jordan Holmes finished with 10 rebounds.
Franklin (0-1) continues play in the Tip-Off Tournament against top-ranked NCAA Division III DePauw at 3 p.m. today.