Big Red break away from Bishops for fourth-straight win

Lily Morris  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Lily Morris | Photo by Jace Delgado

DELAWARE, Ohio – Denison women's basketball tallied their fourth-straight victory on Saturday afternoon as they handed a 59-44 defeat to the Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan at Branch Rickey Arena in Delaware.

In a game that saw the lead change six times through the first 23 minutes of action, momentum appeared to be on the side of the home squad as back-to-back buckets from Megan Hatfield and Leah Maniaci gave the Bishops a 23-17 lead with 4:34 to play in the second quarter.

Over the next three minutes, the Big Red rattled off six consecutive points from Lily Morris, Zyah Beal, and Shonta Lockett to help tie the game at 23-23 with 1:48 remaining before halftime. OWU's Nicole Popovich followed with a layup 36 seconds later to put the Bishops back in front, but on the next possession, DU's Alison Schafer finished a three-point play the old-fashioned way to give the Big Red a 26-25 lead at the break.

In the second half, Ohio Wesleyan opened the third with five of the first seven points on a three from Claire Sterling and a layup from Molly Delaney to give the Bishops a two-point advantage, 30-28. In the following four minutes of action, the tide began to shift back to the Big Red as a three-point play from Lockett sparked a 10-2 scoring run for Denison that saw Lauren Longbrake and Addie Buzas bury a pair of layups while Lauren Turner capped off the run with a three to give DU a 38-32 lead.

Leading 40-37 with 9:31 remaining in the game, Denison continued to pull away from the opposition as Beal scored the next six points for DU and the Big Red completed the breakaway with a 19-7 scoring run to end the game. The win moved Denison to 11-4 overall and 5-1 in the NCAC while OWU dropped to 7-7 and 2-3 in conference play.

Highlighted by their 52-37 advantage on the boards and 29 points off the bench, the Big Red were led by Beal and Morris who chipped in 10 points each. Beal also finished second of the team with eight rebounds. Schafer posted nine points, six rebounds, and three assists, while Longbrake and Lauren Hofer tied for the game-high with 10 rebounds apiece.

OWU's Sterling led the day with 17 points while adding four rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Cierra Joiner chipped in six points and nine boards and Popovich finished with seven points.

Denison will close out their three-game road trip next Wednesday, January 15 when they travel to No. 7 DePauw University for an 8 p.m. tipoff with the Tigers.