January 22, 2014

First-half run fuels rout at Hiram

Freshman Jordan Holmes posted her 11th double-double of the season, while junior Mary Margaret Habel scored a game-high 17 points off the bench. Those factors allowed the Denison women's basketball team to pick up a dominating 67-42 victory at Hiram on Wednesday night in North Coast Athletic Conference play.

After falling into an early five-point hole, Denison Head Coach Sara Lee burned her first timeout to regroup her squad. Lee's pep talk did its job as the Big Red offense exploded out of the stoppage.  In just over nine minutes, Denison turned a five-point deficit into a 16-point lead at 32-16.  DU's 24-4 run was highlighted by a 19-0 burst over the course of eight minutes.

Habel provided a huge lift off the bench as she went a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor.  Habel scored all 13 of her first-half points during the momentum swinging run.  During the nine-minute stretch, Denison shot a blistering 61 percent (11-for-16) from the field. The Terriers started to chip away at the deficit, but a three-pointer by junior Candise Love with 1:50 left in the first sent the Big Red into the locker room with a 39-22 lead. In addition to Habel's offensive performance, Holmes also proved to be a dominant force down low. The rookie post grabbed 10 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes of play.

The momentum generated in the opening period carried over into the second half as Denison rattled off nine unanswered points to build a 26-point lead.  Paige Williams, Habel and Holmes all knocked down jumpers, while sophomore Kellie Arter buried a three four and a half minutes into the stanza.  The Big Red maintained at least a 20-point lead for the rest of the half, leading by as many as 32 with 7:41 to play.

The Denison offense shot 49 percent (27-for-55) from the field, while the DU defense held Hiram to a 30.4 conversion rate (17-for-56).  The Big Red held a dominating advantage on the glass, 42-28.

Habel's game-best 17 points came off an 8-for-10 performance from the floor and a 1-for-2 night at the foul line in 22 minutes off the bench.  Holmes logged 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks, while Love went 6-for-8 from the field en route to a 15-point night.

Danielle Day led the Terriers with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

With the win, the Big Red improves to 13-4 overall and 5-3 in the NCAC, while the loss drops Hiram to 4-13 and 0-8 in conference play.  Denison returns to the court on Saturday in Delaware, Ohio against league rival Ohio Wesleyan. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.