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Heidelberg pulls away from DU in final minutes

Valesha Province  |  Photo courtesy of Transylvania Sports Information
Valesha Province | Photo courtesy of Transylvania Sports Information

TIFFIN, Ohio -- Denison women's basketball had their second-half comeback cut short on Thursday night as they suffered a 63-53 loss to Heidelberg University at Seiberling Gymnasium in Tiffin, Ohio.

Trailing by as many as eight points in the first half, the Big Red used a 6-0 scoring run highlighted by Valesha Province and Alison Schafer at the end of the third quarter to shorten their deficit to two, 44-42, entering the final frame.

After both sides were held scoreless during the first 2:33 of the fourth, Zyah Beal found junior Lauren Hofer for a jumper that tied the game at 44-44 with 7:27 remaining.

A pair of threes from Heidelberg's Brittanie Ulmer followed for the Student Princes, but a layup from Shonta Lockett and a pair of free throws from Beal kept DU within two, 50-48, at the 5:28 mark.

Following a Schafer layup that cut the Denison deficit to 52-50, Heidelberg's Aianna Wilson committed a turnover that put the ball back in the hands of the Big Red. After Province was unable to connect on her three-point attempt, an offensive rebound from Hofer kept DU's possession alive as it turned into a basket from Lucy Bancone that tied the game, 52-52, with 3:45 left to play.

Consecutive turnovers by both teams gave the ball back to Heidelberg where Alyssa Riley tallied a jumper that helped the Student Princes regain the lead.

A steal from Madelyn Crawford on the following possession resulted in two more points from Riley at the charity stripe as Heidelberg increased their lead to four, 56-52, with 2:10 remaining.

Heidelberg used the final two minutes to complete their 11-1 scoring run to finish the game and hand the Big Red their first loss in nearly two weeks. The loss sent Denison to 4-6 overall while Heidelberg improved to 4-4 on the season.

Despite owning a 13-3 advantage in second-chance points over the Student Princes, the Big Red were outscored by HU off turnovers (17-8), in the paint (26-18), and off the bench (24-14), leading to Heidelberg's 48 percent from the field.

Schafer finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting and added six rebounds. Province followed with 13 points to go along with four steals. Beal paced DU's bench effort with eight points, five rebounds, and two steals.

Heidelberg's Maddy Crawford posted a double-double on 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Student Princes. Ulmer's 15 points off the bench followed for HU and Brooke Beamer, Riley, and Wilson combined for an additional 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.

The Big Red will return home next Thursday, December 20 to host La Roche College for a 5 p.m. tip-off at Livingston Gymnasium.