MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Despite a fourth-quarter surge from the Gators, the Big Red totaled four players in double figures and held off Allegheny College, 73-67, on Saturday afternoon at the David V. Wise Center.
Thanks to a 42-percent shooting performance and outrebounding Allegheny 45-31, Denison jumped out early by forcing 13 Gator turnovers in the first half and added a 21-8 scoring run in the second quarter, capitalized by buckets from juniors Valesha Province and Lucy Bancone and senior Brittany Atkinson. Atkinson led the half for DU with eight points and five rebounds to take a 28-19 lead into intermission.
Leading by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, Province and Alison Schafer combined for 13 points in the third frame to go up 50-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
With both sides shooting 61-percent or better from the field in the final quarter, eight points from Allegheny's Rylee Donovan helped the Gators open the quarter on a 12-5 scoring run and cut the Denison lead down to two, 55-53, with 6:53 remaining in the game.
After a pair of free throws from Denison's Lauren Longbrake and Allegheny's Brooke Smith canceled each other out, the Big Red followed with a jumper from Province and then an AC turnover resulted in two of Lauren Hofer's five fourth-quarter points to take a 65-57 lead with less than four minutes to play.
Following consecutive Allegheny free throws with 2:11 left in the fourth, Province buried her only three of the day to increase the Denison lead back to nine points, before the Gators countered with a triple from Donovan to cut their deficit to 70-64 at the 1:26 mark.
The Big Red carried a 72-67 lead with less than 30 seconds to play with the ball back in the hands of Allegheny. Despite having the possession, the Gators committed a turnover with 19 seconds left in the game, giving the ball back to Denison and securing DU's third-straight victory in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Paced by 15 points each from Atkinson and Province, the Big Red also received 13 points and six rebounds from Hofer while Schafer chipped in 11. Isabella Luaces added six rebounds from the starting lineup and Longbrake contributed seven points off the bench.
For Allegheny, Donovan led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-19 shooting and tallied five boards. Delaney Arbore, Zoe Soilis, and Julianna Skowron finished in a tie for second on the team with 12 points each.
Denison will return home on Wednesday, Jan. 10 when they play host to DePauw University at 8 p.m.