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First half scoring run propels Big Red over Gators

Lauren Hofer  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Lauren Hofer | Photo by Jace Delgado

MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Denison women's basketball used a 20-0 scoring run in the first half to defeat Allegheny College 76-55 on Saturday afternoon at the Wise Center in Meadville, Pa. This marks DU's fifth straight win over the Gators, dating back to January 7, 2017.

Highlighted by a 47.1 shooting percentage in the first half and four different DU players scoring 11 or more points for the game, the Big Red took control in the first quarter after five lead changes took place through the first 5:45 of play.

Leading 14-12 with 2:17 remaining in the opening frame, a jumper from Lauren Hofer and back-to-back threes from Valesha Province and Alison Schafer helped ignite an 8-0 scoring run to end the quarter and give the Big Red a 22-12 advantage after the first 10 minutes of action.

Denison's offensive attack continued to perform in the second quarter when junior Addie Buzas opened the period with an offensive rebound and laid it in to extend the DU lead to 24-12. Province followed with consecutive three-pointers before a layup from junior Lauren Longbrake and another bucket by Province allowed the Big Red to extend their scoring run to 20-straight points between the two quarters and give DU a 34-12 lead with 7:12 to play in the half.

The Big Red led by as many as 23 points in the first half and carried a 41-23 advantage into the break.

Entering the second half, the Gators trimmed their deficit back to 15 points after Rylee Donovan finished her three-point play at the charity stripe, but the Big Red answered back with seven-straight points on a three from Schafer and four total points from Longbrake and Hofer. Denison led Allegheny 56-37 entering the final frame.

Schafer's third, three-pointer of the game gave Denison their largest lead of the game as they went ahead by 28, 74-46, with less than five minutes remaining. Assisted by a 29-9 advantage in bench points and 18 second-chance points compared to Allegheny's nine, the Big Red earned their fifth conference win of the season and improved to 9-7 overall.

Led by four players in double figures, Denison was headlined by Longbrake's game-high 20 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes of action off the bench. Hofer and Province followed with 17 points each. Hofer's total matched a career-high while adding eight rebounds and three assists. Province reached her total on 5-of-7 shooting from the perimeter. Schafer chipped in 11 points and eight boards.

The Gators were led by 19 points and nine rebounds from Julianna Skowron, while Donovan and Delaney Arbore combined for 17 points and eight boards.

Winners in five of their last six games, the Big Red will stay on the road next Wednesday, January 16 when they travel to the College of Wooster for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off with the Fighting Scots.