SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Denison sophomore Valesha Province knocked down a pair of free throws with just one second left in regulation, sending the Big Red to a 43-41 victory over North Coast Athletic Conference rival Wittenberg on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the final quarter, the Tigers held a 34-30 lead over Denison. Following a Wittenberg turnover to open the period, Alison Schafer knocked down a jumper that shrunk the deficit to two inside the first minute of play. The home team answered on the ensuing possession when a three-pointer by Alexis Perry gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game at 37-32.
After nearly two scoreless minutes of play, DU rattled off six-straight points to regain a 38-37 advantage with 4:07 to play. The Big Red surge was capped off by a Schafer triple off a feed from sophomore Lucy Bancone. Liz Tolliver knocked down a jumper on the next possession to retake the lead but a free throw by Province tied the contest at 39-39 with 2:55 to play. Province broke the tie with two more foul shots to push the advantage to 41-39.
The Tigers' Bobbie Clayton came away with a steal with 30 seconds left in regulation, giving the home team a chance to tie the score. Nineteen seconds after the steal, Haley Dannemiller knocked down a jumper to tie the game for just the fourth time at 41-41. Following a full timeout by the Big Red, Province drew yet another foul with just once second to go. The sophomore guard knocked down both attempts at the stripe to put the Big Red ahead by two. The Denison defense denied Wittenberg an opportunity for a desperation shot before the final horn sound.
Led by as many as eight in the first half after a Schafer three gave DU an 18-10 lead after the opening period. The Big Red never trailed in the opening half before seeing three lead changes in the third stanza.
Schafer paced the Denison offense with 13 points to go along with five rebounds, three steals and two assists. Jordan Holmes pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds while also adding eight points. With that 14-rebound performance, Holmes jumped from ninth to sixth place on the Division III career rebound list with 1,420 boards. Province finished with five points, all at the free throw line, and two assists, while Emily Krumpe also handed out two assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Perry finished with nine points, seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists to lead the Tigers. Clayton and Sydney Mayle also had seven boards each, while Dannemiller blocked two shots.
Denison improves to 3-7 on the year and 2-1 in the NCAC, while Wittenberg falls to 2-7 overall and 1-4 in league play. The Big Red returns to action on Wednesday when they host rival Ohio Wesleyan. Tip-off from Livingston Gymnasium is slated for 7:30 p.m.