FRANKLIN, Ind. – Playing in front of a crowded Spurlock Center on alumni day, the Franklin College women's basketball team turned in a dominant second half performance to win their second game in a row.
The Grizzlies (6-12, 5-7 HCAC) shot 61.5 percent (16-for-26) from the floor over the final 20 minutes and held Defiance (5-14, 3-9 HCAC) to 5-for-24 from the floor in the second half on their way to a 78-60 win.
Four Grizzlies finished the day in double figures, led by 16 points from sophomore Ashlin Aycock. Riley Achenbach added 12 points while both Erin Bradley and Bayleigh Walker chipped in with 10 points each as the Grizzlies as Franklin picked up a critical win over a team chasing them in the league standings.
"We talked at halftime that we're fighting for a berth to get in the conference tournament and this was a game that we needed to take care of," Head coach Dana Haggenjos said. "In the second half, we saw a team that wanted to win and wanted to play in the conference tournament. Our guards were aggressive, we played well defensively and we played a fairly clean game. When those things are happening, we're tough to beat."
Franklin opened the game with the first six points of the day on their first three possessions, but Defiance would answer right back with seven straight points to take their first lead of the day. Another 7-0 Yellow Jacket run late in the first quarter spotted Defiance a 21-16 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Defiance carried a multiple-possession lead late into the second quarter, but Franklin would cut the gap to 35-32 at the break, out-scoring the Yellow Jackets 12-5 over the last 2:28 of the second quarter. Franklin took exceptional care of the ball in the opening half, committing just one turnover over the first 20 minutes of play.
The Grizzlies seized control early in the second half, opening the third quarter with an 8-2 run. Leading by three midway through the third, the Grizzlies began to put some distance between the two sides, closing out the quarter with a 14-5 run to take a 56-44 lead into the fourth.
It was a dominant period for the Grizzlies, as Franklin shot 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from the field while forcing Defiance to miss all nine of their field goal attempts.
Franklin wasted little time putting the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter, starting the final period with a 10-2 run that stretched the lead to 66-46, the Grizzlies' largest advantage of the day. It would be more than enough cushion for the Grizzlies to close out the win and complete a season sweep of the Yellow Jackets.
Franklin connected on 44.8 percent (30-for-67) of their field goals on the night, going 3-for-13 from three-point range and 15-for-19 at the free throw line. A stifling Franklin defense held Defiance to 32.1 percent (17-for-53) from the floor, 5-for-16 from three and 21-for-28 at the charity stripe.
Rebounds were 41-38 in favor of the Yellow Jackets, with eight boards from freshman Lindsay Freije tops among all Franklin players. The Grizzlies held a 20-9 advantage in the turnover battle and a 24-6 edge in points off turnovers.
Franklin will look for their third straight win this coming Wednesday (Jan. 31) night, when they welcome Manchester University to the Spurlock Center for a pivotal HCAC contest. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.