The Hiram College women's basketball team started strong and finished stronger on Saturday afternoon, upending Adrian College, 69-55, in front of their home fans in Price Gymnasium.
Playing for the first time in both school's history, the Terriers and Bulldogs entered the game with identical 4-5 records. Hiram grabbed the series' inaugural win, improving to 5-5 on the season. Adrian, meanwhile fell to 4-6.
Despite tallying just 26 points between the second and third quarters, the Terriers did enough to control the game at the outset and finish. Between the first and fourth frames, Hiram shot 7-of-14 from beyond the arc and 14-of-33 overall to combined for 43 points.
Hiram trailed just briefly in the opening quarter as Adrian hit the first three of the game on their opening shot.
Following the initial bucket, Hiram cruised ahead to a nine-point lead with a 16-4 swing. Following back-to-back baskets by Madison Branch, sophomore Alainna Conroy canned back-to-back triples, which was then followed by a pair of three by Josie Earnhardt.
In all, Hiram posted 15 of their 21, first-quarter, points from beyond the arc, led by nine from Earnhardt. Thanks to those efforts, the Terriers held a nine-point lead at the quarter break.
The good times looked to keep rolling in the second frame as Gabriella Dukarm knocked down her first triple of the afternoon. That was then followed by another bucket from Branch and the Terriers led by 14 (26-12) with 7:27 to play in the half.
However, Adrian locked down defensively, holding the Terriers to just four points for the remainder of the half, and Hiram saw their lead cut down to five (30-25) at the break.
The advantage would continue to dwindle in the third as the Bulldogs cut the Hiram lead to just one (46-45) on a three by Emily Somerville with 59 seconds to play in the quarter.
It was in the fourth, however, that the Hiram defense came alive, holding Adrian to just three made field goals for the entirety of the frame. The Bulldogs were forced to shoot 3-of-17 from the floor as Hiram outscored their guests 22-10.
Through the first five minutes of the quarter, Adrian totaled one made bucket while Hiram forced four turnovers. Five different players scored for Hiram in the 14-2 run that pushed the lead back to double digits, led by five from Tashauna Wright.
The largest lead of the game would come on a free-throw from Wright with 3:06 to play (64-49) and Hiram would knock down five of their last six free throws to ice the game, 69-55.
Wright led all Terrier scoring efforts with a team-best 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. The efficient Wright scored eight of her 21 in the fourth quarter to help close the game out.
Earnhardt finished as the team's second-leading scorer, posting 17 and helping the Hiram reserves outscore Adrian's 26-11. Branch was the other Terrier in double figures, totaling 10 to go along with a pair of assists and a pair of steals.
Adrian's Ashley Morris led all scorers with 22 points, but no other Bulldog finished in double figures as Hiram held Adrian to 32 percent shooting for the game.
In the midst of a six-game home stand, in which they have started 1-1, the Terriers will be back in action on Tuesday, December 18, as they play host to Waynesburg University in a non-conference matchup. The game is set for 6 p.m.