CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Franklin College women's basketball team tipped off a three-game road trip on Saturday (Feb. 9) afternoon, traveling east to take on the Lions of Mount St. Joseph University in search of a season sweep of their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) foes.
Facing a 16-point halftime deficit, the Grizzlies (6-16, 4-11 HCAC) put together a furious rally to get back into the game in the second half. But Franklin couldn't overcome the long-range shooting prowess of the Lions (13-10, 8-8 HCAC), as the hosts held on for a 73-65 win.
Leading the way for the Grizzlies on offense was freshman Britney Ballard, who matched a season-high with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a season-high three three-pointers. Addie Rund added nine points and grabbed five boards coming off the bench, part of a Franklin reserve squad that finished with 46 points on Saturday afternoon.
The opening quarter saw the Lions catch fire from long range early while the Grizzlies looked to find a rhythm. The Lions knocked down five triples in the opening quarter and used an 8-0 run late in the quarter to take a 21-11 lead after one quarter. The second quarter saw more of the same, as The Mount knocked down five of their six field goals from behind the three-point line, taking a 38-22 lead into the break.
Franklin began to cut into the MSJ lead late in the third quarter, getting within single digits as the game headed to the final period. The Grizzlies rattled off a 14-4 run over the final 6:33 of the quarter, turning a 19-point deficit into a 51-42 Lion lead with 10 minutes to play.
The two sides traded buckets to open the final quarter and following a Ballard three with 5:10 to play, the Grizzlies were within 58-53 with plenty of time left on the clock. That ended being as close as Franklin would come the rest of the way, as the Lions were able to hold off Franklin's furious rally over the final five minutes.
The Grizzlies shot 41 percent (25-for-61) from the floor on Saturday, going 3-for-8 from three and 12-for-21 from the free throw line. Franklin finished with a 44-28 edge in the rebounding battle, grabbing a season-high 22 offensive boards that resulted in 17 second chance points.
Franklin continues their road trip on Monday (Feb. 11) night, heading to North Manchester, Ind. to take on the Manchester Spartans in a make-up game from Jan. 30. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.