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RECAP | Fourth Quarter Rally Comes Up Short in Sunday Loss to Wittenberg

Photo courtesy of Angie Palmer
Photo courtesy of Angie Palmer

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Following a week on the sidelines, the Franklin women's basketball team resumed their season on Sunday (Nov. 25) afternoon, taking on the Wittenberg Tigers in the third of five straight games away from home.

The Grizzlies (1-3) fell behind by double figures early on, but rallied to get back within striking distance by the end of the first half. The second half was a tightly-contested affair, but the Tigers (3-2) were able to hold off Franklin in a hard-fought contest, 65-62.

Sophomore Bayleigh Walker came off the bench and poured in a season-high 23 points to lead all players in the game. Ashlin Aycock and Mallory Cast had 10 points each in support for the Grizzlies.

Franklin grabbed the lead with a bucket on their first possession of the game, but went without a point for the next seven minutes. Wittenberg went on a 16-0 before a Lindsay Frejie layup broke the Grizzlies' scoreless drought. After 10 minutes, Franklin had closed the gap to 19-9 after back-to-back buckets from Aycock closed out the period.

The Tiger lead ballooned back up to 16 three minutes into the second quarter, but the Grizzlies would shake off the deficit with a 13-2 run that cut the lead to 30-25 with just under four minutes to go in the half. The Grizzlies carried momentum with them into the break when Walker nailed a jumper at the buzzer to cut the Wittenberg lead to 38-34 after 20 minutes of play.

Walker brought the Grizzlies within a pair less than a minute into the second half, but a 10-2 Wittenberg run followed, stretching the lead to 48-38 with 4:22 to go in the third. The host's league grew to as many as 11 and Franklin trailed 53-44 heading into the final period.

Facing a sizeable deficit, the Grizzlies came out on fire to start the fourth quarter. Franklin opened the final period with an 11-1 run, taking their first lead since the opening minute when a free throw from Cast made it 55-54 with 6:34 to play. Both sides traded four leads over the next two minutes before an Aycock layup made it 59-58 Franklin with 4:40 to go.

But the Grizzlies went cold over the next four minutes, going without a field goal until a Walker layup made it 64-62 Tigers with 49 seconds to play. The Grizzlies had a couple looks at the tying basket in the dying seconds, but couldn't get the bucket they needed to send the game to overtime.

Franklin shot 40 percent (26-for-65) from the field, going just 2-for-10 from long range and 8-for-15 from the free throw line. At the other end, the Grizzlies limited the Tigers to 33.8 percent (23-for-68) shooting, with Wittenberg going 8-for-20 from three and 11-for-15 from the line.

Rebounds were 41-34 in Franklin's favor with freshman Cassidy Yant grabbing a season and game-high nine boards. Aycock hauled in seven rebounds to go with a team-leading five assists while Walker and Destinee Cross both added six rebounds. The Grizzlies held advantages in points in the paint (34-26), points off turnovers (15-10) and bench points (34-14).

Franklin continues their road trip on Saturday (Dec. 1), taking on Hanover College in the first HCAC contest of the season. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m.