FRANKLIN, Ind. – Following seven days off, the Franklin College women's basketball team returned to action on Saturday (Feb. 2), taking on the Earlham Quakers in the first of consecutive games inside the Spurlock Center.
Three Grizzlies (6-14, 4-9 HCAC) finished in double figures on Saturday afternoon, but Franklin was done in by a fourth quarter that saw Earlham (8-12, 6-7 HCAC) out-score Franklin 20-10 to erase the deficit they faced to start the final period and escape with a 68-62 win. Jessica Nix had 13 points to lead the Grizzlies while Lindsay Freije and Mallory Cast added 10 points each.
Franklin put some distance between the two sides late in the first quarter, using an 8-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at that point at 17-11 with two minutes to play. The two sides played even the rest of the quarter, and Franklin headed into the second holding a 23-16 lead.
The first four minutes of the second saw Earlham get right back in the game and take a 27-25 lead thanks to an 11-2 run. Earlham would hold on to their slim lead at the break, carrying a 35-33 lead into the locker room at half. The Grizzlies shot 48 percent (12-for-25) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, but 10 second quarter turnover allowed the Quakers back into the game.
Back-to-back buckets to open the second half from Bayleigh Walker and Destinee Cross out Franklin back in front, where they would remain until the five-minute mark when consecutive Quaker buckets made it a 46-43 game. Both side would go scoreless for the next three minutes, but the Grizzlies would head into the final quarter with the lead following a 9-2 run that made it 52-48. Earlham did not record a field goal for the final 5:45 of the period.
The Grizzlies got layups from Freije and Cast early in the fourth quarter, but the Quakers would claw back to take the lead when Kayla Bowling sank the game's first three to make it 57-56 Earlham with 7:21 left. The two sides alternated leads over the next few possessions and after a Cast jumper at the 6:18 mark, Franklin held a 60-59 lead.
But the rest of regulation saw the Grizzlies struggle to score while the Quakers surged. Earlham closed the game on a 9-2 run with Franklin recording just one down the stretch.
Franklin shot 43.9 percent (25-for-57) from the field, going 12-for-20 at the free throw line. Defensively, the Grizzlies held Earlham to just 38.5 percent (25-for-65) shooting, but Earlham would win the turnover battle 23-19 and record 23 points off mistakes to 11 for Franklin. Cross led the Grizzlies with eight boards while Ashlin Aycock's five assists topped all players.
The Grizzlies close out a brief two-game homestand on Wednesday (Feb. 6), taking on Rose-Hulman. Tip-off from the Spurlock Center is set for 7:30 p.m.