ANDERSON, Ind. – Playing the final contest of a month long five-game road trip, the Franklin women's basketball team took on the Ravens of Anderson University in another Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) contest.
Down by five heading into the final quarter, the Grizzlies (2-4, 1-1 HCAC) put on a dominant display over the final 10 minutes, out-scoring the Ravens (4-4, 0-2 HCAC) 24-11 to pick up a 71-63 win and their first conference victory of the 2018-19 campaign.
"We had a few defensive stops to give us some confidence and it really ignited our offense," Head coach Dana Haggenjos said following the win. "It was nice to get multiple players in double figures, as it opened a few more options for us on offense. The team did a good job securing rebounds down the stretch and hitting their free throws down the stretch to capitalize on their strong play defensively."
An early 7-0 run spotted Anderson a lead in the game's opening minutes, but that advantage would evaporate and following a Mallory Cast triple and a Britney Ballard jumper, Franklin held a 13-10 lead with 3:29 to go in the opening period. But the Grizzlies went cold down the stretch in the opening period, managing just a free throw as Anderson rallied to take a 20-14 lead after 10 minutes.
The Ravens lead expanded to as many as nine before the Grizzlies responded in a big way. Franklin rattled off a 13-3 run, re-taking the lead on an Isabella Ratliff layup that made it 27-26 with 5:59 left in the half. Anderson jumped back in front shortly after, but Franklin headed into the locker room with a 38-33 lead, closing out the second quarter with a 10-2 run.
The Grizzlies held on to their lead until a scoreless drought that lasted the final 5:40 of the quarter. Anderson used that time to turn a four-point deficit into a 52-47 lead when the horn sounded to end the third.
Down by six points early in the fourth, the Grizzlies cranked up the pressure on the defensive end, kick-starting a rally that carried them to victory. The Grizzlies held Anderson to just one field goal over the final 9:27 of play, taking the lead for good when a pair of Jessica Nix free throws made it 61-60 with 4:29 to go. The Grizzlies did the bulk of their scoring from the charity stripe, knocking down 10-of-14 free throws in the final quarter to pull away from the Ravens.
Freshman Nix and fellow rookie Britney Ballard tied for the team lead in scoring, netting 15 points each. Ashlin Aycock added 14 points and Bayleigh Walker chipped in with 13 on the night. Franklin shot 35.7 percent (25-for-70) from the field, going 3-for-9 from long range and 18-for-26 at the line. At the other end, the Grizzlies held Anderson to just 31.7 percent (19-for-60) from the field.
Nix led the Grizzlies with eight rebounds while Ballard and Cassidy Yant hauled in six boards each. Franklin finished the night with a 49-46 edge on the glass and a 21-11 advantage in the turnover battle, setting a season-low for giveaways.
The Grizzlies return to their home floor on Saturday (Dec. 8) afternoon, taking on the Defiance Yellow Jackets in HCAC play. Tip-off from the Spurlock Center is set for approximately 4:00 p.m.