DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Powered by a career afternoon from junior Bayleigh Walker and some late-game heroics from a pair of seniors, the Franklin women's basketball team completed a perfect two-game Florida swing with a 77-75 win over Framingham State on Sunday (Dec. 29) afternoon.
Plainfield, Ind.-native Walker poured in a career-high 31 points, scoring 19 in the second half alone to top the 30-point mark for the first time in her career. Ashlin Aycock put the Grizzlies (6-3) in front with a layup in the final 15 seconds and Taylor McDaniel put a stamp on the win with a steal on the Rams' (8-4) final possession of the game to seal Franklin's second win in as many days.
Franklin struggled from the floor early, managing just one field over the first eight minutes of the game as the Rams claimed a 12-2 lead late in the first quarter. The Grizzlies went 3-for-12 from the field and turned the ball over six times as they faced a 19-8 deficit after 10 minutes of play.
The Grizzlies would turn to their defense to right the ship in the second, holding the Rams without a field goal for the first six minutes to the quarter. A Destinee Cross layup with 4:12 to go in the half capped a 14-3 run that tied the game at 22, but the Rams would rebound to take a 32-29 lead into the intermission.
Back-to-back buckets from Walker and Cowart opened the second half and gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the ball game. Franklin's lead would grow to 49-44 after a layup from Jessica Nix at the 2:47 mark of the period, but the Rams closed out the quarter with five straight points to even up the game with 10 minutes to go.
The two sides traded leads early in the fourth quarter before Franklin would take their largest lead of the day at 68-62 with 3:30 to play following a layup from Jenna Cowart. But the Rams would fight back to tie the game in the final minute and with 23 second to play, the game sat tied at 75 with the ball in Franklin's hands.
The inbound went to Aycock, who drove into traffic and layed the ball off the glass to give the Grizzlies the lead with 11 seconds to go. McDaniel's steal with two seconds on the clock squashed the Rams' last-ditch effort to either tie or take the lead, giving the Grizzlies some momentum as they head back into conference play.
Franklin connected on 41.6% (32-for-77) of their field goals on the day, going 2-for-8 from three and 11-for-17 from the line. Nix was the only other Grizzly to reach double figures, pouring in 14 points off the bench and leading all Grizzlies with eight rebounds and three assists. Franklin held a 44-42 edge in the rebounding battle and turned 24 Ram turnovers into 25 points at the other end.
The Grizzlies are off until Jan. 4, when they resume conference play with a trip to Ohio to take on the Defiance Yellow Jackets. Tip-off is ser for 2:00 p.m.