GRANVILLE, Ohio -- Free throws from seniors Gabrielle Nottage and Jordan Holmes in the final seconds propelled the Big Red women's basketball team to a 49-46 victory over North Coast Athletic Conference foe Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday night at Livingston Gymnasium.
After 10 minutes of back-and-forth play, the two squads were deadlocked at 10-10. The Battling Bishops scored seven of the first 10 points in the second period to build their largest lead of the night at four-point lead. With 4:48 left in the half, an offensive put back by Alison Schafer sparked a 12-0 surge that turned that deficit into an eight-point advantage. Schafer and Holmes provided four points each, while sophomore Valesha Province and senior Emily Krumpe chipped in two points apiece.
Denison led the entire third period, eventually building their largest lead of the contest at 37-27 following a short-range jumper by Holmes with 1:20 on the clock. OWU's Meg Dunning split a pair at the line with 22 seconds to go as DU carried a nine-point lead into the final period. Ohio Wesleyan used an a 10-2 run in the early part of the fourth to cut the deficit to one a 39-38.
The Big Red answered with a three-point play from Lauren Hofer that pushed the advantage back to four before Megan Kuether and Addie Buzas traded buckets to keep it a two-score game. Now trailing by three, Kuether sunk a pair at the charity stripe to shrink the gap to one for the second time in the quarter.
Krumpe pushed the lead back to three with a jumper in the paint, but single free throws from Kuether and Claire Sterling pulled the Bishops to within one with 1:19 to play. Nottage and Holmes each split a pair with 15 and five seconds to play, respectively, to secure the three-point victory.
Denison shot 38 percent (19-for-50) from the field, while Ohio Wesleyan converted 32 percent (16-for-50) from the floor. The Big Red defense held OWU to almost 20 points under their scoring average. DU was plus-15 (45-30) on the glass and had a 26-20 advantage in scoring down low.
Holmes finished with 11 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks. Her five rejections moved her into sole possession of third place on the NCAA Career Blocks list that spans all Division. Holmes passed the Division II record holder LaKisha Phifer who compiled 533 blocks in her career at St. Paul's. Krumpe added 10 points and seven rebounds, while Province and Schafer both finished with eight points, three rebounds and three steals.
Kuether led all scorers with 17 points, while Taylor Dickson added 13 tallies. Sterling paced OWU on the glass with 12 boards to go along with three blocks and three steals.
Denison improves to 4-7 overall and 3-1 in the NCAC, while the Bishops fall to 3-5 and 1-1 in league play. The Big Red will take a two-week break for finals and Christmas before returning to action on Dec. 28 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Denison will face off against Wisconsin-Platteville (Dec. 28) and Albright (Dec. 29) during their trip. Both games are scheduled to start at 10 a.m.