Denison junior Jordan Holmes eclipsed the 1,000-career rebound plateau in the Big Red's 69-58 victory over Otterbein at the 2015 Smokey Ballenger Classic on Tuesday in Westerville, Ohio.
Entering Tuesday's game, Holmes needed just 11 boards to become the fifth player in North Coast Athletic Conference history to grab 1,000 career rebounds. With just 55 seconds remaining the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-1 junior corralled a defensive board to reach the milestone. Following another rebound at the end of the game, Holmes finished with 1,001-career rebounds. She is now 216 boards shy of the conference record currently held by Ohio Wesleyan's Jill Myers (1984-88).
The Big Red opened the game by scoring 16 of the first 18 points. Otterbein was able to cut the deficit to nine, but a 3-pointer from senior Kellie Arter with 15 seconds on the clock gave Denison a 21-9 lead through the first 10 minutes. Holmes opened the second with a bucket to regain a 14-point advantage, but a 9-0 Cardinal run over the course of 2:21 shrunk the deficit to five points.
Trailing by seven with just over two minutes to play, Abby Miduri converted both attempts at the foul line. Otterbein's Marissa Sheets drew a foul after coming away with a steal and split a pair at the line to pull within four. After another Big Red turnover, Kiersten Taylor scored to make it a one-possession game. With 37 seconds left in the half, Miduri found Taylor Pifher for a layup to tie the contest at 31-31. Junior Gabrielle Nottage answered with a jumper in the paint to regain a 33-31 edge, a lead Denison took into the half after Holmes blocked a Miduri shot at the conclusion of the period.
After seeing their double-digit lead shrink to just two at the halfway point, DU got off to a fast start in the third period thanks to a 16-2 surge that was highlighted by a 14-0 run, resulting in a 49-33 advantage with 2:29 remaining in the quarter. Denison expanded its lead to 18 points by scoring the final five tallies of the period.
After being outscored 23-7 in the third quarter and falling behind by as many as 19 points early in the fourth, Otterbein engineered an 11-0 run over the course of five minutes to close the gap to 57-49. Holmes ended an almost six minute scoring drought with a layup to push the Big Red's lead back to 10 with 3:45 to play. The two squads traded off scores over the next couple minutes, making it an eight-point contest with 2:08 to go. However, Denison went 6-for-10 at the foul line over the final 1:33 and held the Cardinals to just three points to secure the 11-point victory.
The Big Red converted 39 percent (23-for-59) from the field, including a 43-percent conversion rate (6-for-14) from 3-point range. Otterbein shot a 35-percent clip from the field and was successful on 14 of their 17 free throw attempts. Denison won the battle on the boards 41-38 and committed 11 turnovers compared to 17 giveaways by the Cards. The Big Red turned the 17 Otterbein turnovers into 23 points, while only allowing 12 tallies off their 11 giveaways.
Holmes led all scorers with 16 points after going a perfect 7-for-7 from the field. She also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked five shots in 34 minutes of play. With her five rejections, Holmes moved into eighth place on the Division III all-time list with 389 career blocks. Arter and Nottage each chipped in 11 points, while Emily Krumpe and Akilah Fletcher pulled in eight boards apiece. Senior Taylor Lindquist dished out five assists and had four steals to go along with her nine points.
Amariah Huck and Dani Kissel paced the Cardinals with 14 points each, while Huck also grabbed eight rebounds.
The Big Red improves to 9-3 on the year, while Otterbein falls to 6-6. Denison resumes NCAC action on Sunday when they travel to Wooster for a 2 p.m. tip-off.