NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Franklin College women's basketball team opened up play in 2018 on Wednesday night, resuming Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play with the first of two games against the Manchester Spartans.
Offensive struggles plagued the Grizzlies (3-8, 2-3 HCAC) in their first contest of the new year. Franklin shot just 32.7 percent (18-for-55) from the field on Wednesday night, dropping a 58-50 decision to the Spartans (3-9, 2-3 HCAC).
Freshman Bayleigh Walker recorded her seventh straight double-digit point effort, finishing with a game-high 10 points. Sophomore Ashlin Aycock added a career-high nine points off the bench for the Grizzlies, who dropped their third straight contest.
Manchester used an early 6-0 run to take an 11-4 lead midway through the first quarter, but Franklin would bounce back with a 9-3 run of their own to get within a point at 14-13 late in the opening period. The Grizzlies stayed within striking distance into the second quarter, but a 12-2 Manchester run to close out the half put the Grizzlies behind 33-21 at the break, a deficit that proved to be too much to overcome.
The Spartans' lead would grow to as many as 18 points in the third quarter as Franklin went 2-for-14 from the floor to open the second half. Franklin would begin to chip away at the lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the deficit proved to be too large to overcome.
Rebounds were 44-25 in favor of the Grizzlies; the largest rebounding advantage Franklin has had against an opponent this year. Walker led the Grizzlies with eight boards while Erin Bradley grabbed six misses on the night.
Turnovers proved to be critical, as Franklin committed 24 to just 13 for the Spartans. Manchester held a 21-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Franklin wraps up their current four-game road swing on Saturday (Jan. 6) afternoon, traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on the Tigers of Mount St. Joseph University. Tip-off from the Harrington Center is set for 1:00 p.m.