The Purple and Gold women's basketball team fought all the way to the buzzer on Saturday, February 15, but the HCAC-leading Transylvania Pioneers were too much, as Defiance was defeated 80-63.
DC (9-14, 6-10 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) falls on the road for the fourth-straight game, but remain only one game out of sixth in the league standings due to losses by both Rose-Hulman and Earlham. TU (21-2, 15-1 HCAC) remains at the top of the conference standings by two games with the victory.
To start off the weekend matchup, the Purple and Gold got ahead early with solid play in the first five minutes of action. After being down 7-5 at the 15:55 mark, Defiance ran off seven-straight points in the next minute and a half to go up 12-7 on the Pioneers.
However, the advantage did not last long, as Transy responded with a 15-5 surge that put it back on top 22-17 with 7:22 remaining in the first period.
Unfortunately, the momentum only continued to build for the home squad on senior day. TU closed out the half on a 19-7 run that left the Yellow Jackets trailing 41-24 at the intermission.
Even though the Pioneers had accrued a solid halftime lead, DC's defense had made scoring tough on Transylvania. TU, who entered the game with the top field-goal percentage in the HCAC, was held to 37.5 percent shooting. But 17 offensive rebounds and 18 Jacket turnovers led to Transy attempting 18 more shots in the period.
However, the big halftime deficit did not discourage the Purple and Gold. Defiance continued to play solid defense to open up the second period and slowly chipped away at the Pioneer advantage to get back in the ball game.
Through the first 12:38 of the second half, the Jackets held the high-octane Transylvania offense to 13 points on 5-of-20 (25.0) shooting from the field and caused six Pioneer turnovers. DC's hard work at the defensive end allowed the Purple and Gold to trim the TU lead to single digits at 54-45 with 7:22 to play.
Unfortunately, Transylvania did not let Defiance get any closer the rest of the way. The Pioneers full-court press started causing numerous turnovers by the Jackets and TU hit 11-of-14 free throws down the stretch to seal the 80-63 HCAC win.
The Purple and Gold were able to contain the Transy offensive attack to 26-of-73 (35.6) from the floor and 6-of-18 (33.3) from long range. But 26 Pioneer offensive rebounds and a season-high 36 turnovers by DC led to 26 more shot attempts by the home squad on the afternoon.
Defiance finished the night 20-of-47 (42.6) shooting and was solid from the charity stripe by going 19-of-24 (79.2). On the glass, TU just edged the Jackets by a count of (42-40).
Leading the Purple and Gold in scoring was Kim Bingley (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) off the bench. The senior forward chalked up 14 points on 5-of-7 (71.4) shooting to go along with seven boards and a pair of steals.
Coming up with her HCAC-leading 11th double-double of the year was Kelsey Tietje (Deshler, Ohio / Patrick Henry). The first-year center was 8-of-9 (88.9) from the free-throw line that helped her notch 12 points, while grabbing 13 rebounds and three blocks. Senior Erica King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) also chipped in with 13 points.
Defiance will embark on its third-straight and final road game of the regular season Wednesday, February 19, when it travels to North Manchester, Ind. to battle the Spartans. Game-time is slated for 7:30 p.m.