FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College women's basketball team made their 2017-18 season debut on Tuesday night, taking on the No. 15-ranked Tigers of DePauw University inside the Spurlock Center.
The young Grizzlies (0-1) got off to a slow start, falling behind by as many as 17 points in the first half. But Franklin wouldn't back down against their in-state rival, rallying to tie the game before the end of the first half. The Grizzlies would throw everything they had at DePauw (3-0), but the Tigers were able to hold off the upset bid and escape with a 69-62 win.
Mallory Cast made her first career start and finished with a career-high 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting, going 4-for-5 from long range. Kelsey Smith added 15 points for the Grizzlies on 6-for-11 shooting, connecting on 3-of-5 triples.
"I was really proud of our effort and the way we fought back after digging ourselves into an early hole," Head coach Dana Haggenjos said after the game. "We figured some things out and finally got things going on both ends of the court in the second quarter. Everyone that stepped on the floor played with confidence and that's what you want to see with a young bunch."
Both teams traded buckets in the first minute of the game, but shortly after that the Tigers would rattle off a 19-2 run to give them their biggest lead of the game at 21-4 with 3:10 left in the first quarter. Franklin picked themselves up and answered with an 8-0 run to close out the first, getting within single digits after 10 minutes of play.
The rally continued into the second quarter Franklin would draw even with the Tigers at 23 with a three from Bayleigh Walker with 5:02 left before the half. DePauw would tighten up on the defensive end, holding the Grizzlies to just two baskets the rest of the first half, taking a 36-27 lead into the intermission.
Franklin would cut the lead to one possession at 41-39 with 5:46 left in the third quarter after Cast's second triple of the half, and would stay within striking distance until a 7-0 DePauw run to close out the quarter stretched the Tiger lead to 54-44.
The visitor's lead would grow to as many as 13 in the final period, but Franklin was able to trim the deficit down to six late in the period. In the end, the Grizzlies ran out of time as DePauw closed things out at the free throw line.
Franklin knocked down 41.7 percent (25-for-60) of their shots on the night, going 9-for-23 from deep and just 3-for-5 at the free throw line. DePauw was led by 17 points from Maya Howard and the team shot 45.1 percent (23-for-51).
DePauw dominated the game on the glass, out-rebounding Franklin 43-22. Walked led the Grizzlies with five boards while Erin Bradley pulled down four rebounds. The Grizzlies turned the tables in the turnover battle, finishing with 19 forced mistakes to 13 against. Franklin made the Tigers pay for their mistakes, registering 28 points off turnovers.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Grizzlies as they hit the road after Thanksgiving to take on No. 9-ranked Trine University on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m.