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Tigers secure second half rally to defeat Big Red

Addie Buzas  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Addie Buzas | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Wittenberg's Abigail Yunker totaled a game-high 18 points as the Big Red fell to the Tigers, 75-69, on Saturday afternoon at Livingston Gymnasium.

Despite holding a 33-27 lead entering the half, Denison was held to 38-percent shooting in the third quarter while Wittenberg went 11-of-14 from the field to outscore DU, 27-19.

Lauren Hofer connected on a jumper to open the second half, but the Tigers rallied off 11 unanswered points to take a 38-35 lead with 6:42 remaining in the third period. The Big Red countered with back-to-back buckets from Hofer and Alison Schafer, but a basket from Wittenberg's Haley Dannemiller put the Tigers back up, 43-41, at the 4:15 mark.

A pair of threes from junior Valesha Province put DU back in front, 47-42, but Wittenberg strung together an 11-2 scoring run to take a 54-49 lead with one second to play in the third. Sophomore Addie Buzas buried a triple at the buzzer to give the Big Red new life entering the final quarter trailing, 54-52.

Continuing their sharp shooting in the second half, Wittenberg shot a total of 62-percent from the field in the final frame while Denison went 4-of-12 (33-percent). WU opened the fourth quarter with three straight baskets to take an early 60-55 lead with 8:12 to play in the game.

Province connected on her third three of the game to pull the Big Red within two, 60-58, with 7:42 remaining, but a pair of threes from Yunker and another by Alex Kiess put the Tigers up by their largest margin of the night, 71-63, with less than four minutes to play.

However, DU refused to give in as they turned two Wittenberg turnovers into 6-for-6 from the charity stripe over the next 2:55 to cut their deficit to just two points, 71-69, with 55 seconds remaining.

The Tigers extended their lead after Kristie Kalis finished with a layup to go up 73-69. A pair of missed free throws followed from Wittenberg to give Denison the ball with less than 20 seconds to play. A missed three from Hofer put the ball back into the hands of WU as Delaney Williams connected on both of her attempts at the charity stripe to hand the Big Red their third-straight loss.

The Big Red finished the night at 38-percent from the field and were outrebounded, 41-34. Both sides finished with four players each in double figures. Denison was led by Schafer's 16 points, while Buzas and Hofer combined for 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Province chipped in 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the perimeter.

Yunker complimented her 18 points with seven rebounds and five assists. Kiess finished right behind Yunker with 15 points and seven boards while Williams and Kalis each added 12 points.

Denison will look for their first conference win next Saturday, Dec. 16 when they travel to the College of Wooster for a 2 p.m. tipoff with the Fighting Scots.

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