Senior Mikaela Freundlich's go-head three-pointer with 24 seconds to play erased a double-digit deficit and powered the Denison women's basketball team to a 53-50 season-opening victory over Franklin College on Friday night in Franklin, Ind.
With 11:30 remaining in the second half, the Grizzlies Lauren DeSutter knocked down a jumper to give the home team their largest lead of the night at 39-26. Now trailing 43-31, senior Paige Williams gave DU another possession after taking the ball away from Kayle Comer. The takeaway resulted in a pair of successful free-throw attempts by junior post Mary Margaret Habel. With 7:12 to play, freshman Emily Krumpe sank a jumper in the paint off an assist from classmate Alyssa Wagner to cut the deficit to eight.
After a layup from Lindsey Dall made it a double-digit contest, junior guard Candise Love drilled a triple on the ensuing possession to shrink the gap to seven. After Franklin rebuilt a 10-point lead with three free throws, senior Gretchen Staubach hit a jumper on DU's next trip down the floor. After a one-and-done for the Grizzlies, Love split a pair at the charity stripe with less than four to play.
Approaching three minutes to go in regulation, Staubach converted two free throws to make it a two possession game. Following a pair of free throws by DeSutter, Freundlich buried a jumper with 2:42 on the clock. After Mandy Fisher came up empty at the foul line, Love hit another bucket for the Big Red to shrink the margin to 50-47. On Franklin's ensuing possession, Krista Schott was called for an offensive foul, giving the ball back to the red hot Denison offense. Staubach made the Grizzlies pay with a jumper off an assist from Freundlich.
Down by one with 49 seconds to go, freshman Jordan Holmes grabbed a defensive rebound after DeSutter missed a three-pointer. With 24 ticks on the clock, Love found Freundlich who drained a three to give Denison its first lead since the early stages of the period. Brewer had a chance to tie the game with eight seconds to go, but Holmes came up with a huge block and defensive board. Love split a pair at the line, forcing Franklin to attempt a three on their final possession. Williams swatted DeSutter's final shot to secure the Denison victory.
The Big Red converted 38 percent (18-of-48) from the field, while the Grizzlies hit 18-of-40 attempts (45 percent). After shooting just 20 percent from behind the arc in the first period, Denison was 3-of-6 from long range in the second 20 minutes of action. DU also shot a 63-percent clip from the charity stripe after going 12-for-19.
Arter scored 14 of her game-best 17 points in the first period. She also grabbed four rebounds in 27 minutes. Staubach chipped in 14 points on 6-of-7 from the field, while Holmes grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and registered three blocks. Williams and Love each dished out four assists.
DeSutter finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four steals, while Schott added 10 points, nine boards and seven assists.
DU improves to 1-0 on the year, while Franklin falls to 0-1. Denison concludes play at the Franklin Tip-Off Classic on Saturday when they take on Otterbein University at 1 p.m.