DEFIANCE, Ohio – Led by a trio of impressive performances, the Franklin College women's basketball team snapped a five-game slide with an 87-79 win overtime win over Defiance College on Saturday (Jan. 26) afternoon.
Senior Mallory Cast rained in a career-high 25 points, burying a single-game personal record five three-pointers on the afternoon. The Grizzlies (6-13, 4-8 HCAC) also got a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double from Bayleigh Walker and an 11-point, 10-rebound effort from Jessica Nix to salvage a season split with the Yellow Jackets (5-14, 4-8 HCAC) and pick up a hard-earned win.
Franklin jumped out to a sizeable lead in the final minutes of the opening half thanks to an 11-2 run that turned a one-point deficit into an 18-10 lead after Nix converted a three-point play. The Grizzlies went 8-for-19 from the floor in the opening period and took an 18-14 lead into the second.
The Grizzlies held on to their lead throughout the second but couldn't stretch it out as the Yellow Jackets stayed within a possession for the majority of the quarter. That was until the final 3:30 of the period, when Franklin closed out the first half with a 7-1 run that put the Grizzlies up 37-30 when the teams broke for halftime.
Franklin started the second half off fast, extending their lead to its largest of the day at 45-34 after an Addie Rund layup at the 7:28 mark. Defiance would chip away at the lead, getting within three before Franklin extended their edge to 62-55 through three quarters.
The Yellow Jackets would make another charge with six straight points to open the quarter, but Franklin countered with an 8-0 run and looked to have the game in hand with a 70-61 lead with 3:40 to play. But the Grizzlies struggled to knock down shots while the Yellow Jackets heated up from deep. Defiance knocked down three triples down the stretch, before tying the game at 72 with a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left. Franklin had a look at the buzzer, but Cast's last-second shot bounced out and the teams headed to OT.
Both teams knocked down jumpers on their first two possessions of overtime, but the Grizzlies would pull away thanks to an 8-0 run that spanned less than a minute. Walker connected on a jumper to put Franklin in front before Cast and Britney Ballard followed with threes to make it 84-76 with under two minutes to play. Defiance would muster just three free throws the rest of the way as the defense closed out the win.
Franklin connected on 48.6 percent (34-for-70) of their field goals, going 7-for-19 from three and 12-for-14 from the line. Nix topped the Grizzlies with five assists, followed by four helpers from sophomore Isabella Ratliff. Defensively, Franklin limited to 34.2 percent (26-for-76) from the floor and 26.9 percent (7-for-26) from behind the line.
The Grizzlies wrap up a two-game road trip on Wednesday (Jan. 30) night, heading north to take on the Manchester Spartans. Tip-off from North Manchester, Ind. is set for 7:30 p.m.