Senior point guard Serafina Nuzzo dropped a career-high tying 23 points to help Denison knock off Case Western Reserve, 72-59, on Sunday afternoon in Granville.
The Big Red jumped out to a 17-5 lead roughly nine minutes into the contest. Despite the early deficit, the Spartans battled back, trimming the deficit to six on three separate occasions. The final time came with 11 ticks left in the half on an Evy Iacono fast break jumper in the paint.
In the second period, DU regained its 12-point lead thanks to a pair of jumpers by junior Gretchen Staubach and a fast break bucket from senior Nicole Coggins. Trailing 50-35, Case Western Reserve used a 10-2 burst to shrink the margin to seven with eight minutes to play. The Spartan run forced Head Coach Sara Lee to call a timeout.
The stoppage seemed to swing the momentum back into Denison's favor as Nuzzo drained a triple out of the timeout. The Big Red defense went on to force three-straight Case turnovers, scoring points off all three takeaways. The 9-0 run gave the home team its biggest lead of the day at 61-45. In addition to Nuzzo's three, senior Kyli Parker chipped in four points, while sophomore Mary Margaret Habel added a pair of free throws.
The final Denison rush proved to be too much for the visiting Spartans to overcome. Over the final 6+ minutes, Case Western Reserve got as close as 11 (61-50) before suffering a 13-point setback.
The Big Red shot 48 percent (23-for-48) from the floor, including a 50 percent clip from behind the arc. DU also converted a season best 86 percent (19-for-22) from the foul line. For the second time in as many games, Denison won the battle on the glass after grabbing 36 boards.
Nuzzo's 23 points came off a 6-for-15 performance from the field, including a 3-for-7 outing from long range. The senior also knocked down eight of her 10 free throw attempts, dished out four assists, grabbed four rebounds and logged two steals. With her three triples, Nuzzo passed Sarah Perrine for fourth on the all-time three-point field-goals made list (119).
Also helping the cause were Coggins and Staubach. Coggins dropped 13 points and pulled down six rebounds, while Staubach had 10 tallies and six boards. Habel led everyone down low with a game-best eight rebounds.
Erin Reynolds paced the Spartans with 13 points, while Iacono and Erica Iafelice each added 12 tallies. Brooke Orcutt grabbed six rebounds, while Iacono dished out a game-high five assists.
Denison (4-1) extends its winning streak to four games, while Case Western Reserve falls to 3-2. DU continues its homestand on Wednesday against nationally-ranked Mount Union. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.