Denison held visiting Wittenberg to just four points in the opening 12 minutes of the contest on Wednesday night. That allowed the Big Red to take a 22-point lead into the locker room and despite being outscored in the second half, Denison managed to hold on for a 70-57 victory over the Tigers.
The two teams entered the game tied for fourth-place in the North Coast Athletic Conference at 7-5 in league play. The win moves Denison to 15-7 overall and 8-5 in the NCAC and into sole possession of fourth-place.
In the first half the Big Red did it with defense and efficient scoring. The home team shot 58 percent from the field while forcing Wittenberg into 14 turnovers that were manufactured into 17 points by the Big Red.
Denison's first-year duo of Lydia Harlan and Alyx Ingram led the way and each forced the issue in different halves. In the first half it was all Harlan who scored 13 of her game-high 16 points off 5-of-7 shooting in 15 minutes. In the second half Ingram scored 13 of her 15 points by going 5-of-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
The 16 points were a career-high for Harlan. It also marked the fifth-straight game in which she has scored in double figures.
Denison led by as many as 27 with 14:14 to play in the second half but the Tigers mounted a comeback and went on a 24-8 run to trim the Big Red lead to just 11 with 5:16 remaining. The two teams would trade baskets down the stretch, but foul trouble on Wittenberg and some key defensive rebounds for DU's Nicole Coggins would put the game away for the Big Red.
Harlan finished with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 30 minutes while Ingram ended with 15 points in just 19 minutes. Serafina Nuzzo added nine points, seven assists and three steals in 22 minutes of work. Senior forward Jessica Grzybowski chipped in nine points while going 3-of-5 from the field.
Wittenberg was led by Enri Small's 13 points and seven rebounds. Katelyn Haralamos scored 12 points and Sarah Watson added 11 points and five rebounds. The senior also eclipsed the 1,000 career point plateau in the second half.
Denison shot 53 percent from the field and outrebounded Wittenberg 35-31. The Tigers connected on 40 percent of its action shots and were 13-of-19 from the free throw line.
The Big Red will hit the road this Saturday (Feb. 11) for a 1 p.m. tip-off against Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.