With a big lift from its defense, the Franklin College’s women’s basketball game withstood a late rally by Manchester to beat the visiting Spartans 47-43 in Saturday’s match-up against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals.
With the win, the Grizzlies have a six-game winning streak and are tied for second place with Defiance in the HCAC standings.
In command for most of the game, the Grizzlies let a 40-27 lead slip away in the final five minutes of play.
The Spartans went on a 14-0 run to take a one-point lead on a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Jamie Childress.
The Grizzlies responded with a 10-foot jumper by senior Jess Prewett to reclaim the lead at 42-41.
With 2:14 remaining, Childress converted two more free throws after drawing a shooting foul.
Franklin called timeout with 54 seconds left to set up a play that worked to perfection.
On an inbound pass, senior point guard Annie Tarkington found Lindsey Dall near the basket, resulting in the go-ahead layup.
“We wanted to get inside and get to the free throw line,” said Franklin first-year coach Jennifer Lodge. “We kept wanting to attack. I think sometimes we get relaxed, but never once did I see them have any doubts in their minds.
“They know what to do, and they’re confident. That’s something I can’t teach. I just keep telling them to believe that they are great players.”
Junior Krista Schott converted a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining to go up by three, but the Spartans weren’t done. They sprinted up court and the put the ball in the hands of three-point specialist Katie Arterburn.
But Schott defended Arterburn and blocked three straight 3-point attempts, denying the Spartans a chance to tie.
Schott had a team-high 11 points to go with five rebounds.
Lindsay Rich added 10 points and Prewett nine. Prewett also had eight rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Childress led the Spartans (6-9, 5-3) with 12 points.
Franklin (12-3, 6-2) travels to conference rival Rose-Hulman on Wednesday.