DU grinds out win at Wittenberg

Candise Love shot 50 percent from the field in Denison's win at Wittenberg.
Candise Love shot 50 percent from the field in Denison's win at Wittenberg.

An early second-half run helped Denison hand North Coast Athletic Conference rival Wittenberg its first conference loss, 49-36, on Saturday afternoon in Springfield, Ohio.

After falling into an early hole, the Big Red jumped out to a 13-7 lead thanks to a 10-2 run that spanned roughly six minutes.  However, layups by Carli Swartz, Michelle Brunswick and Ali Miller tied the contest at 13-13 at the midway point of the opening period.  DU scored 11 of the next 15 points to grab a seven-point advantage, its largest of the half.  The Tigers whittled the deficit to one with 38 seconds left in the period, but a three-pointer by senior Paige Williams sent the visiting team into the break with a four-point edge.

Williams' half-ending triple sparked a 17-7 run that gave Denison an 11-point lead with 12:41 on the clock.  In addition to the senior's three, junior guard Candise Love scored six points, while senior Gretchen Staubach also chipped in four tallies.  Sophomore Kellie Arter and freshman Jordan Holmes each chipped in a bucket during the spurt.

Wittenberg's Katelyn Haralamos shrunk the deficit to nine with a layup, but an 8-2 burst pushed DU's lead to 15 with 6:10 to play.  Over the final six minutes, the Big Red held the Tigers to just two points, extinguishing any chance of a comeback.  Wittenberg went 0-for-9 from the field during the stretch and committed three turnovers.  Holmes paced the defensive effort with three blocks and two rebounds.

Denison converted 37 percent from the field (22-for-60), while the Tigers hit just 24 percent from the floor (13-for-55), including a 3-for-29 performance (10 percent) in the second period.

Love led all scorers with 14 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists.  The junior guard went 6-for-12 from the floor, including a 2-for-2 performance from three-point range.  Holmes posted her eight double-double of the season after scoring 10 points and grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds. The freshman also blocked six shots and recorded two steals.

Amber Rice paced Wittenberg with 13 points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes.  Heather Schroeder chipped in nine points and seven boards, while Taylor Bundy pulled down six rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.

Denison improves to 8-2 on the year and 2-1 in the NCAC, while Wittenberg falls to 5-3 and 1-1 in league play.  After a two week break for the holidays, the Big Red returns to action on Dec. 28-29 at the Smokey Ballenger Classic hosted by Otterbein University.  Denison opens play against the University of Pittsburgh Bradford at 5 p.m. on Dec. 28.