Denison shot 57 percent from the field and had four players score in double-figures. Those factors helped the Big Red pick up a dominating 81-59 victory over Otterbein University on Saturday afternoon from the Spurlock Center in Franklin, Ind.
The Big Red scored 15 of the game's first 19 points to build an 11-point less than six minutes into the contest. Otterbein scored on its next three possessions to shrink the deficit to four. Now trailing 24-17, the Cardinals went on an 11-4 run to tie the contest at 28-28. With 3:47 left in the opening period, Jenna Ripepi knocked down a three-pointer to give Otterbein its first lead of the game at 31-30.
DU answered with back-to-back buckets from freshman Jordan Holmes and senior Aubrey Rogers. Holmes also added a pair of free throws to extend the Big Red's lead to 36-31 with 1:39 on the clock. After a Tabatha Piper jumper trimmed the deficit to three, Denison rattled off six-straight to close out the period and take a 42-33 lead into the locker room. Junior Mary Margaret Habel hit a triple, while senior Gretchen Staubach converted an old-fashioned three-point-play with 20 seconds to play.
Denison went 18-for-28 (64 percent) in the first half and closed out the opening 20 minutes with a 12-2 run. DU was also 4-for-5 at the charity stripe in the first period.
After surrendering a three-pointer to open the second frame, the Big Red rattled off 10 of the next 11 points to build a 15-point lead early in the stanza. During that 10-1 run, five different DU players chipped in offensively. Senior Mikaela Freundlich opened the run with a 3-pointer, while junior Candise Love knocked down a jumper. Staubach also scored in the paint, while Habel split a pair at the free-throw line. Sophomore Kellie Arter capped off the spurt with a bucket off an assist from Love.
Otterbein slowly chipped away at the lead, trimming the margin to 58-51 midway through the half. However, another 8-0 run by the Denison offense rebuilt the 15-point advantage. The Big Red maintained its double-digit lead for the final 9+ minutes en route to their second win in as many games.
The Big Red went 15-for-30 in the second half en route to a 33-for-58 (57 percent) performance from the floor. They also shot 4-for-9 from three-point range and scored 34 points in the paint. The Denison bench outscored Otterbein's reserves 29-16. The Cards were 22-for-68 (32 percent) from the field and 43 percent (6-for-14) from beyond the arc.
Love finished with a team-high 16 points and six assists, while Staubach added 15 points. Both Love and Staubach went 7-for-10 (70 percent) from the field in 33 and 26 minutes, respectively. Holmes posted her first-career double-double after scoring 11 points and grabbing a game-best 15 rebounds. The first-year post also finished three blocks shy of a triple-double. Her seven blocks were the most in a game by a DU player since Carolyn Simpson posted seven rejections against Hiram on Feb. 2, 2008. Habel rounded out the list of double-digit scorers with 12 points on 4-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from the foul line.
Madi Miller paced Otterbein with a game-high 18 points, while Piper chipped in 13 tallies. Amariah Huck grabbed nine rebounds, while Chelsea Reed dished out four assists.
At the conclusion of the Franklin Tip-Off Classic, Staubach was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 14.5 points per game and shooting 77 percent (13-for-17) from the field.
Denison improves to 2-0 on the year, while the Cardinals fall to 0-2. The Big Red returns to action on Wednesday when they take on Mount St. Joseph in their home opener. Tip-off from Livingston Gymnasium is scheduled for 7 p.m.