It took some doing, but the Franklin College women’s basketball team is off to a 1-0 start after turning back visiting Spalding (Ky.) 59-56 in the Girzzlies’ annual Tip-Off Tournament on Friday night at Spurlock Center.
In what turned out to be a game of spurts, the Grizzlies had the last say after falling behind 44-41 with 11:40 remaining.
Fueled by a 17-2 run, the Grizzlies went from three down to 12 up thanks to some timely shooting by senior guard Lindsay Rich, freshman guard Alicia Farmer and sophomore center Lindsey Dall.
In the opening half, both teams started slow, but the Grizzlies went on a 15-3 run to take a 28-15 lead with a little more than two minutes left before the break.
But the Golden Eagles were not about to go away.
Spalding responded with a 7-0 run on the 3-point shooting of Kerstin Hayes and the inside play of senior guard Kelly Harrod.
Coming out of the break with a 29-23 advantage, the Grizzlies got back-to-back-to-back hoops from Farmer, Rich and senior point guard Annie Tarkington, respectively, to go up 35-23.
Utilizing a 3-2 full-court press, Spalding forced Franklin into some careless turnovers at the offensive end.
The Golden Eagles forged a 38-all tie and moments later took their first lead at 42-41 on another 3-pointer by Hayes, her fourth of the game.
A layup by Spalding’s Jessica Guy pushed the Eagles’ lead to 44-41, but Rich responded with a drive down the middle to convert a 3-point play, and the game was tied at 44.
From that point on, the Grizzlies’ defense came to the rescue.
Down 58-46 with a little more than five minutes left, Spalding rallied to get within two points at 58-56.
However, Farmer hit one of two free throws with 13.9 seconds left to seal the victory.
A desperation shot by Harrod that would have tied the game fell short.
Harrod led all scorers with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Hayes finished with 16 points and three assists.
For the winning Grizzlies, Farmer scored 14 points. Rich chipped in with 12 points and Dall added 11.
Franklin won the battle of the boards 43-37.
With the win, Franklin (1-0) will face the winner of the Baldwin-Wallace and Ohio Wesleyan game in the tournament championship at 3 p.m. today.