Late free throws help Big Red extend streak to six

Gabby Nottage

Denison went 10-for-12 at the free throw line over the final 1:19 to secure a 76-62 North Coast Athletic Conference victory over Allegheny on Saturday afternoon in Granville. The Big Red has now won 11 of their last 12 games, including a season-high six straight.

After leading for the first 15 minutes of the contest, Denison saw their 10-point lead disappear thanks to a 12-2 run by Allegheny to open the second quarter. The Gators grabbed their first lead of the game when Jazmen Moore converted a layup at 5:24. Allegheny eventually took a 32-31 advantage into the lockeroom. Neither team led by more than four points in the third stanza. After 11 lead changes during that 10-minute span, it was a short-range jumper by junior Jordan Holmes that gave the Big Red a 52-51 edge heading into the final frame.

Trailing by one early in the fourth, DU rattled off seven-straight to regain a two-score lead. Holmes put the Big Red back in front from by one, before a Kellie Arter triple extended the lead. Akilah Fletcher capped off the offensive burst with a jumper in the paint off an assist from Gabrielle Nottage.

The Gators closed the deficit back to three, but another Holmes bucket with 1:31 to play made it a two-possession game once again. Nottage pushed the game out of reach with a 5-for-6 showing at the line down the stretch, while Valesha Province and Fletcher each went 2-for-2. Holmes set the final score with a free throw with 0.3 seconds on the clock.

Denison shot a season-best 53 percent (27-for-51) from the field, which included a 70 percent conversion rate (16-for-23) in the second half. DU went 7-for-13 (54 percent) from the 3-point range and 15-for-20 (75 percent) from the charity stripe. The Gators converted just 30 percent (22-for-73) from the floor, which included a 3-for-19 (16 percent) performance from long range. The Big Red also held a 47-34 advantage on the glass.

Holmes nearly recorded her sixth-career triple-double after posting 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks to go along with a season-high four assists. Those nine blocks moved Holmes past Erin McKenzie of Hendrix (2003-06) and into fourth place on the NCAA Division III career blocks list with 412.

Nottage also chipped in 16 points after going 4-for-7 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and 5-of-6 at the foul line. Arter's 15 tallies came on a 6-for-7 performance from the floor, while Fletcher had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. Junior Erica Holmes co-led the team with four assists and had two steals.

Candaisy Crawford led the Gators in scoring with 13 points, while Ifeyinwa Uwazie grabbed eight rebounds. Emma Pellicano also chipped in seven boards and three assists.

Denison improves to 13-3 on the year and 6-1 in the NCAC, while Allegheny falls to 8-8 and 3-4 in the conference. The Big Red returns to action on Wednesday when they travel to Hiram for a 6 p.m. tip-off.