HIRAM, Ohio -- Thanks to a career-high 20 points from junior Lauren Hofer, Denison women's basketball tallied their fourth straight victory on Wednesday night when they handed a 66-57 loss to Hiram College at Price Gymnasium.
Led by a 20-7 scoring run in the second quarter and 16 points off 17 Hiram turnovers, Denison recovered from a 16-15 deficit following the first frame when Aliyah Hunter connected on a three and Hofer followed with a layup to give the Big Red a 20-18 advantage with 8:23 remaining in the first half.
Over the next three minutes of play, Denison outscored the Terriers 9-2 on back-to-back layups from Hofer and five total points from junior Alison Schafer. Two more points from Hofer and a triple from Lauren Turner put the Big Red ahead by double digits, 35-23, entering the break.
Schafer and senior Valesha Province combined for nine of DU's first 11 points of the second half as the Big Red shot 35.3 percent in the third quarter and built their lead to as many as 22 points in the final half of action.
With the Terriers trailing 51-30 with 2:01 to play in the third, Alainna Connor sparked an 8-0 Hiram run to cut Denison's lead to 51-38 at the end of the quarter.
Despite Hiram outscoring Denison 19-15 in the fourth and cutting the Big Red lead to 60-51 with 2:41 remaining, DU remained in control as they answered on the next possession with a layup from Shonta Lockett and turned a missed free throw from Tashauna Wright into a layup on the other end for Hofer. Denison led 64-52 with 1:04 left to play.
Two free throws from HC's Madison Branch cut the Hiram deficit back to 10 with 22 seconds left to play, and on the next possession, Josie Earnhardt's three made it a 65-57 game with 12 seconds remaining. A final free throw from Province iced the game for DU as the Big Red improved to 12-7 on the season and currently sit in second place in the North Coast Athletic Conference with an 8-3 record. The loss dropped the Terriers to 9-10 on the year and 3-7 in conference play.
Hofer's career-high 20 points came on an efficient 10-of-12 shooting from the floor in 22 minutes of action. Schafer followed with 14 points on 4-of-6 from the perimeter while adding five rebounds and four assists. Lauren Longbrake finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench, while Hunter chipped in six points, six boards, three blocks, and three assists.
Hiram received a team-high 18 points from Conroy, who added four rebounds and three steals. Wright added 11 points and Erica Johnson posted seven points and seven rebounds.
Winners in eight of their last nine games, the Big Red will remain on the road next Wednesday, January 30 when they travel to Middletown, Ohio to take on the ThunderHawks of Miami-Middletown at 7 p.m.