It took a gritty effort for the Franklin College women’s basketball team to survive a 78-75 double-overtime win against visiting Anderson University on Saturday.
The Grizzlies remain one game back of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference league-leader Transylvania with two games remaining.
Against the Ravens, Franklin saw its 14-point lead vanish when Jenna Wittenberg hit a layup with 24 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 54-apiece.
Unable to score at the end of regulation, the two teams went to overtime.
With momentum shifted, Wittenberg got another layup and a pair of free throws that gave the Ravens a 64-60 lead.
Franklin senior point guard Annie Tarkington knocked down a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left.
On the subsequent possession, Franklin senior guard Lindsay Rich was fouled, giving her two free throw attempts to tie the game.
She missed the first and following a timeout, intentionally missed the second.
Rich raced in from the right side, grabbed the offensive rebound and banked it off the glass, sending the game to a second overtime.
“I had never done that before or even practiced it,” said Rich. “I just knew I had to hit the rim and get the rebound.”
A layup by senior center Jess Prewett put Franklin back on top to start the second overtime and from there, the Grizzlies stayed out in front to seal the comeback victory.
With the win, the Grizzlies improved to 13-3 in the conference and 19-4 overall.
Franklin first-year coach Jennifer Lodge said each and every conference game is a battle of wills. And on this day, the Grizzlies willed themselves to victory.
“Our players never looked like they were defeated. It’s all about perseverance. It’s something we’ve done all year,” said Lodge. “We have a lot of things to fix. It wasn’t our best defensive game, which we pride ourselves on, but we found a way to win.”
Rich, with a team-best 18 points, was one of five Grizzlies players in double-figures.
Prewett and Lindsey Dall each scored 13 points. Krista Schott added 12 and sophomore Nichole Thompson, a graduate of Greenwood Community High School, scored seven of her 11 points in the second overtime.
Mallory King was high for Anderson with 18 points. Amy Wuestefeld added 17 and Wittenberg tallied 13.
The Grizzlies travel to Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday and return home for senior day against Defiance on Saturday.
The conference tournament begins the following week.