Three players scored in double figured to help the Denison women's basketball team secure a convincing 66-51 victory over the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford on the opening day of the annual Smokey Ballenger Classic hosted by Otterbein University.
The Big Red showed very little signs of rust coming off a 14-day layoff from competition during the holiday season. Denison never trailed throughout the entire 40 minute contest en route to the 15-point win.
With the scored tied at 15-15, DU orchestrated a 13-1 run to build a 12-point advantage. Senior Gretchen Staubach led the charge with four points, while classmate Mikaela Freundlich chipped in a three-pointer. After a pair of Panther buckets shrunk the deficit to nine, freshman Jordan Holmes closed out the final 68 seconds of the half with a layup and a pair of free throws to send the Big Red into the locker room with a 13-point lead, their largest of the period.
After surrendering the first two tallies of the second half, Denison responded with a 9-0 run that gave the Big Red a 20-point lead four and a half minutes into the period. DU maintained a double-digit lead for the entire 20 minutes of play, including a 23-point advantage with 11:34 to play following a triple by sophomore Kellie Arter.
Pitt-Bradford closed the margin to 56-43 with two and a half to play, but a 10-for-12 performance at the foul line over the final 2:11 secured the DU victory. Junior Mary Margaret Habel went 6-for-8 at the line during that stretch, while Arter and Candise Love each knocked down both of their free throw attempts.
For the fourth time this season, the Big Red shot at least 50-percent from the field after going 22-for-44. They also connected on 5-of-12 from three-point range and 17-of-24 at the line. The Panther struggled from the floor going 16-for-60 (26.7 percent), including a 3-for-12 performance (25 percent) from long range. Denison outrebounded Pitt-Bradford 44-30 and held a 30-12 scoring advantage off the bench.
Arter led all scorers with 16 points after going 4-for-7 from three-point range and a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line. She also had two assists and two rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench. Staubach finished the game with 11 points and a game-high four assists, while Holmes posted her ninth double-double this season. The freshman post scored 10 points and grabbed 15 boards. Holmes also logged seven blocks and one steal in 29 minutes.
Abby Brate led the Panthers with 15 points, while Allison Osborne scored 10 points. Alicia Kimmel grabbed a team-best six rebounds, while Kaserra Owens pulled down five rebounds.
Denison improves to 9-2, while Pitt-Bradford falls to 6-2. The Big Red closes out the Smokey Ballenger Classic on Sunday when they take on Misericordia at the Rike Center on the campus of Otterbein University. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.