With perhaps its best defensive effort of the season, the Franklin College women’s basketball team delivered a 51-31 victory against visiting Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Rose-Hulman on Wednesday night.
The Engineers, playing with a lineup that included three 5-foot-10 forwards, were frustrated by Franklin’s quickness, which caused the visitors to force bad shots and inopportune turnovers.
Playing without injured sophomore forward Katie Brewer, sidelined with a concussion, juniors Lindsey Dall and Nichole Thompson came to the rescue.
Brewer, who was injured in the Grizzlies’ game at Anderson last Saturday, leads the team in scoring with 11.7 points per game and 7.4 rebounds.
Thompson, a graduate of Greenwood Community High School, had a game-high 15 points and Dall added 14.
Franklin’s sixth straight win improved its overall record to 8-6 and more importantly 6-1 in the conference to remain in second place in the league standings.
“With every basketball game that you win, we talk about defense ultimately winning the game,” said Franklin second-year coach Jennifer Temple. “When we get stops they can’t set up any press, and we can score in transition.
“We told them they’d have to play scrappy and want the basketball, and I think that’s what won the game for us. I told them to value each possession, and I think they did a really good job.”
In a tightly played first half, Thompson gave Franklin a 17-11 lead on a pair of free throws after penetrating the lane and being fouled in the act of shooting.
Thompson then added two layups to give the Grizzlies their biggest lead at 24-17 with four minutes left in the half.
A fast-break layup by freshman guard Lauren DeSutter put the Grizzlies in front at 26-17, forcing Rose-Hulman to call a full timeout.
Coming out of the break with a 27-24 advantage, freshman forward Amber May got things started with a reverse layup.
However, the inside play of forwards Jamie Loving and Grace Gibbs pulled the Engineers within three points at 31-28.
Franklin stayed patient on offense and moved the ball with efficiency.
With a pair of free throws by freshman Kaylee Comer and an 18-foot jumper by freshman Sarah Taylor, the Grizzlies went in front to stay 37-29.
Down the stretch, Franklin’s defense limited Rose-Hulman’s scoring opportunities to a minimum.
By game’s end, the Engineers had tallied 25 turnovers.
The Grizzlies put the game away for good with a 15-2 run with Thompson and Dall getting to the free-throw line. Franklin hit 19 of 27 at the line (70.4 percent).
For Rose-Hulman (6-8, 4-3), no player reached double-figures. Loving and guard Sheree Williams each had six points.
The Grizzlies won the battle of the boards, 36-33. May had eight caroms, and Dall added six for the winners.
Franklin hosts conference rival Defiance at 2 p.m. Saturday.