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DU dominates Oberlin in NCAC opener

Jordan Holmes became Denison's all-time rebounding leader against Oberlin.
Jordan Holmes became Denison's all-time rebounding leader against Oberlin.

A 21-9 scoring advantage in the first quarter helped propel the Big Red women's basketball team to a 64-46 win over Oberlin in North Coast Athletic Conference action from Granville on Wednesday evening.

Denison had a solid test in their conference opener as they hosted an Oberlin squad that entered the game with a 5-2 record and was riding high off a thrilling 63-61 victory over No. 25 Baldwin Wallace eight days ago.

The Big Red asserted their dominance early by scoring on five of their first six possessions, resulting in 12-4 lead less than four minutes into the first quarter. On the flip side, DU's defense surrendered points on just two of the Yeowomen's first 11 offensive possessions. In those 11 trips down the floor, Denison forced six one-and-dones and two turnovers.

The Big Red worked a lot of their first-quarter offense through the reigning NCAC Player of the Week, Jordan Holmes, who finished with 12 points in the first period. In that opening 10 minutes, Holmes went 6-for-8 from the field as she outscored the entire Oberlin team by three points.

Just days removed from becoming the NCAC and Denison leader in blocked shots, the 6-foot-1 post added another record to her already glowing resume. Just 33 seconds into the second quarter, Holmes blocked an Olivia Canning shot and came down with a defensive rebound to become Denison's all-time leader in career rebounds. That board was her 922nd which surpassed the mark set by former Denison standout Kristen Sheffield (2003-07). Sitting at 935 career rebounds, Holmes is now eyeing the NCAC rebounding record of 1,217 currently held by Ohio Wesleyan's Jill Myers (1984-88).

After leading by as many as 19 late in the second quarter, Denison entered the locker room with a 36-20 advantage. DU carried its momentum into the second half as they opened the third with a 10-0 run that saw five different players score points. Trailing 51-25, Oberlin engineered a 7-0 run to close the quarter that brought them to within 19 points. Even though the Yeowomen outscored Denison in the final period, DU's early lead was too much to overcome.

The Big Red converted 46 percent (27-for-59) from the field and 69 percent (9-for-13) from the foul line, while the Yeowomen shot 32 percent (18-for-57) from the floor and 58 percent at the stripe (7-for-12). Denison held a 40-34 edge on the glass and dominated scoring in the paint, 44-18. The DU defense surrendered 12 offensive boards but countered that by giving up just six second-chance points.

Holmes finished the night with 26 points, 17 rebounds, eight blocks and four steals. The junior converted 11-of-17 from the field and was 4-for-5 at the free throw line. Classmate Emily Krumpe also chipped in 11 points, while senior Kellie Arter registered 10.  Arter, Krumpe and Akilah Fletcher each had four rebounds, while seniors Taylor Lindquist and Niyah Gonzalez had four assists apiece.

Lindsey Bernhardt led Oberlin with 15 points, while Caroline Hamilton added eight. Canning grabbed a team-best eight rebounds and blocked three shots, while Briana Santiago and Katie Lucaites each had two assists.

Denison improves to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while the loss drops the Yeowomen to 5-3 and 0-1 in league play. The Big Red returns to action next Tuesday (Dec. 8) when they host NCAC rival Ohio Wesleyan at 7:30 p.m.

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