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Strong start leads to dominant win over Hiram

Lauren Longbrake  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Lauren Longbrake | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Highlighted by a 17-6 first quarter performance and five three-pointers in the second quarter, Denison women's basketball earned their first conference win of the season on Wednesday night following a 71-50 victory over Hiram College at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

Led by a 47.1 percent performance from the three-point line and 34 bench points compared to Hiram's 15, the Big Red took control in the early minutes after senior Valesha Province buried one of her four threes on the night and Lauren Hofer followed with back-to-back jumpers.

Holding the Terriers to only six points during the frame, the Big Red received scoring from seven different players in the quarter, including bench buckets from Addie Buzas, Alison Schafer, Zyah Beal, and Lauren Longbrake as DU ended the first quarter with a 17-6 advantage.

After Hiram's Megan Davis scored the first two points of the second period, Province connected on the game's next two three-pointers to go ahead 23-8 with less than six minutes to play in the half. At the 3:41 mark, Denison and Hiram combined to go 5-for-5 from the perimeter over the next 1:12 of play, which included two threes from Schafer and one from Beal as the Big Red carried an 18-point lead into the break, 36-18.

Leading by 18 with 4:31 remaining in the third, Hiram's Tashauna Wright and Madison Branch combined for 11 points and helped the Terriers finish the frame on a 12-4 scoring run as they dropped their deficit to 10, 52-42.

Following baskets from Hofer and Province to begin the final quarter, Buzas extended Denison's lead with a layup that put the Big Red in front 58-44 with 5:22 remaining.

Five-straight points from Branch brought the Terriers within nine, 58-49, but a layup from Kat Williams sparked a 13-1 DU scoring run to end the game as they improved to 3-5 on the season and earned their first conference win. Hiram moved to 4-4 on the season and 1-1 in NCAC play.

Province led the Big Red with a game-high 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three and added four assists. Hofer followed with 15 points, including 5-of-6 from the charity stripe, while Beal chipped in a career-best 10 points and finished with three steals. Five other Big Red players scored at least three points on the night, including eight points each from Schafer and Longbrake.

Hiram's Wright posted 15 points to lead the Terriers and totaled seven rebounds. Branch contributed 10 points, and Erica Johnson led the game with 10 rebounds.

The Big Red will look to keep up the momentum on Monday, December 10 when they travel to Oberlin College for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off with the Yeowomen.