Denison junior Jordan Holmes took down another North Coast Athletic Conference record in the Big Red's 55-52 victory over Allegheny in Saturday's regular season finale at the David V. Wise Center in Meadville, Pa.
Holmes stepped onto the court in her home state needing 21 rebounds to break the 29-year old conference record for rebounds set by Ohio Wesleyan's Jill Myers (1,217 – 1984-88). With 5:15 left in regulation, the 6-foot-1 junior grabbed her 21st rebound of the contest, moving her ahead of the former OWU standout. Holmes added another rebound with 43 seconds on the clock, giving her 1,219 for her career. It took Myers 101 games over four seasons to set the NCAC standard for rebounding. Holmes broke the record in less than three seasons and only 79 games.
The Gators didn't trail for the first quarter and a half until a takeaway by sophomore Akilah Fletcher set up an easy transition layup. Fletcher's bucket capped off a 7-2 Big Red run and gave DU its first lead of the afternoon at 27-25. Trailing by one, Allegheny's Jessica Mrdjenovich drained a 3-pointer that gave the home team a 30-28 lead at the intermission.
The third quarter saw five lead changes with neither team leading by more than six points. Denison grabbed its largest lead of the afternoon at 44-37 inside the opening 10 seconds of the fourth quarter when Fletcher knocked down a pair at the charity stripe. The Gators were able to chip away at the deficit, eventually tying the game thanks to an 11-4 run over a five-minute span.
With the game deadlocked at 50-50, junior Gabrielle Nottage pulled up for a mid-range jumper and rattled it home to regain the lead. Two possession later, Nottage knocked down a short-range jumper that made it a two-possession contest.
With less than a minute to play, Ifeyinwa Uwazie picked off a Kellie Arter pass and went coast-to-coast for the easy transition layup. With 16 seconds to go, Valesha Province split a pair at the free throw line which left the door open for Allegheny to tie the contest. However, the Gators came up empty on the potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Big Red offense shot 46 percent (19-for-41) from the field while the defense held Allegheny to a 29-percent conversion rate (18-for-63). Denison outrebounded the Gators 42-31 and dominated scoring in the paint 36-12.
Holmes, Fletcher and Emily Krumpe all paced the DU offense with 12 points, while Holmes added with 22 rebounds and seven blocks. That showing marks Holmes' seventh game this season with at least 20 rebounds. Gaby Mehringer dished out four assists while Fletcher collected two steals.
Mrdjenovich led Allegheny (13-12, 8-8 NCAC) with 11 points while Kaitlyn Fromknecht and Delaney Arbore each added 10. Uwazie grabbed eight rebounds while Emma Pellicano dished out three assists and Rachel Vigliotti had four steals.
Denison (22-3, 15-1 NCAC) will enter next week's North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament as the top-seed and will host the No. 8 seed Ohio Wesleyan on Tuesday (Feb. 23) at Livingston Gym in Granville at 6 p.m.