Dec 21, 2017
Dec.21-ORANGE, Calif.- The Hiram College women's basketball team cut a double-digit first-half deficit to claim their fourth-straight win in a matchup against Chapman University (69-65), Thursday night.
Three Terriers scored in double-digits, with freshman Madison Branch leading the Terrier pack with 18 points, four assists, a rebound, and a steal. Senior Allison Vannoy collected 14 points, two rebounds, two assists, and a steal. While, sophomore Sarah Spehn led the Hiram reserves with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and two blocks. Junior Erica Johnson was a point shy of tallying a double-double with 9 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, and three assists.
The Terriers shot 78 percent from the free throw line, forced 25 turnovers, and outscored Chapman 28-20 in the paint.
The first quarter opened up with a basket from Branch helping Hiram get on the board early, but the momentum did not stay in their favor for long. Inside the two-minute mark, the fate of the Terriers began to change with the Panthers going on a seven-point run to stretch the lead to 19-10.
In the second quarter, Hiram strived to tackle the deficit, shooting 90 percent from the free-throw line, and forcing 12 turnovers overall in the first half. The efforts were not enough to lock the Panthers down offensively, seeing the deficit swell to 15 points. Hiram closed the second half trailing 36-23.
A Panther basket in the opening minute of the third quarter served as a spark for the Hiram offense. The Terriers went to work, cutting the 17-point deficit down to four. The Terriers reclaimed the momentum, off back-to-back baskets from Vannoy. The 11-point run spanned over five minutes with sophomore Bri Burgos and Branch sinking two baskets, each. Johnson made contributions from the free-throw line, while a layup from Sphen put Hiram in reach of Chapman by four (44-46).
Hiram completed the comeback in the third quarter as Branch beat the buzzer to knot the game at 50-50.
Hiram kept the energy flowing with an early fourth quarter run. Branch posted five-straight to open the run, while Sphen tallied another basket to help the Terriers take the lead (57-52).
Hiram was able to maintain the lead, until the Panthers' Brittany McPherson scored back-to-back baskets allowing Chapman to take the lead with 3:35 to go.
Possession flipped flopped until a jumper from senior Jazmine Scott pulled the Terriers ahead by one (66-65). With less than a minute to go, Branch and Vannoy were fouled in a last-minute effort from the Panthers, but, with the Terriers making a trio of free throws, the Panthers' fates were sealed, ending the game 69-65.
The Terriers will return to the court for day two of the Panthers and Poets Classic Friday, December 22 at 5:00 pm PST (8 PM EST), as they take on Whittier College.