RICHMOND, Ind. – The Franklin College women's basketball team closed out a two-game road swing on Saturday (Jan. 12) afternoon with the first of two meetings with the Earlham Quakers.
Franklin (5-10, 3-5 HCAC) rallied from a late fourth quarter deficit to tie the game in the final minute. But the host Quakers (5-10, 3-5 HCAC) would use the final possession to their advantage, sinking the go-ahead three-pointer with one second left on the clock to seal a 69-66 win.
The Grizzlies netted points on each of their first two possessions, but conceded the early lead following a 12-3 Earlham run with turnover sparking the Quakers to a 12-7 lead five minutes in. Franklin battled back to even things up before a 9-2 Earlham run to close the opening quarter gave the Quakers a 23-16 lead after 10 minutes.
The Grizzlies clawed their way back to within a pair at 27-25 after Rhegan Day knocked down a corner three with 5:12 to go in the opening half. But the Quakers' closed out the half with 11 of its final 16 points, taking a 38-30 lead into the break.
Three straight Grizzly buckets opened the second half, cutting the lead to a pair and forcing an Earlham timeout. Franklin drew at 48 with two minutes to go in the opening half, but a 7-2 Earlham run to close the quarter made it 55-50 in favor of the hosts as the game headed to the fourth.
Earlham's lead climbed to 10 with three minutes to go in the ball game, but the Grizzlies refused to go quietly into the snowy Indiana night. Franklin kept the Quakers off the scoreboard for a two-minute stretch and with 31 second to go, Mallory Cast buried a deep three to cap a 10-0 run and tie the game at 66. But the comeback wasn't meant to be as Kyndall Spears knocked down the go-ahead three in the dying moments, giving the hosts a dramatic win.
Ashlin Aycock had 12 points to lead the Grizzlies. Britney Ballard came off the bench to finish with 11 points, as all 11 Grizzlies that entered the lineup finished found their way into the scorebook. Franklin shot 36.8 percent (21-for-57) from the floor, going 4-for-10 from three and 20-for-22 at the line. The Grizzlies held the Quakers to 34.8 percent (23-for-66) from the field.
The Grizzlies finished the afternoon with a 43-38 advantage in the rebounding battle. Bayleigh Walker's 10 rebounds led all players, and all 11 Grizzlies that saw time grabbed at least one rebound. Addie Rund's three assists led all Franklin players while Lindsay Freije had a team-high three steals.
The Grizzlies wrap up their first trip around the HCAC this coming Wednesday (Jan. 16), when they welcome the Transylvania Pioneers to the Spurlock Center for the first meeting of the year between the two teams. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.