Dec. 3 - HIRAM, Ohio – The Hiram College women's basketball team held Wittenberg University to just 16 first-half points, holding on late to defeat the Tigers, 54-50, for their first North Coast Athletic Conference victory on Saturday afternoon.
The Terriers (6-2, 1-2 NCAC) stifled Wittenberg's offense, holding the Tigers to just 10 points in the opening quarter, and six in the second stanza to hold a 30-16 halftime lead.
Hiram held the Tigers to 5-of-27 shooting in the first half, including 2-of-17 in the second quarter to run out to the double-digit advantage. Additionally, the Terriers supplied the pressure throughout, forcing 14 Wittenberg turnovers.
Offensively, the Terriers ran out to the early advantage, jumping out to a 12-4 lead in the first seven minutes of the contest. Following the first bucket of the game, Hiram used a 12-2 run, including six points from Mercedes Jones to push the lead.
Allison Vannoy scored the first bucket of the run, which was followed by a Jones' basket and a fast-break score by Kaylee Shockley. Jones then added four-straight points, before Dana Perrotta put the cap on the run with a jumper to give the Terriers the eight-point lead.
The first quarter advantage would remain at eight points, as the teams would trade baskets over the final three minutes of the frame. Erica Johnson and Jazmine Scott each scored for the Terriers, while Jones added her fourth bucket of the game in the waning minutes to give Hiram an 18-10 advantage at the quarter break.
The Terrier defense completely controlled the second quarter, holding Wittenberg to just two made baskets and six total points. Hiram opened the quarter on a 10-3 run over the first five minutes to swell the lead to 28-13.
Johnson started the run for Hiram, and was followed by baskets from Scott and Sarah Spehn. After a free-throw by Shockley, Scott capped the run with a triple to run extend the lead to 15. Wittenberg would add just three more points in the half, and the Terriers would go into the break, up 30-16.
The Tigers flipped the script in the third quarter, holding the Terriers to just nine points in the frame. Wittenberg used a 13-2 run to dwindle the Hiram lead from 15 to three points (32-29) with 2:28 to play.
Jones stopped the Wittenberg run with her second, three-point bucket of the year, pushing the Hiram lead back out to six (35-29) with 1:57 to play in the third.
The fourth quarter opened with the Terriers holding a five-point lead (39-34). The Tigers, however, completed their comeback with 4:04 to play in regulation. A 10-4 run, finished off by a free throw from Bobbie Clayton, gave Wittenberg a one-point advantage, 44-43.
Hiram would not give up the victory, as Allison Vannoy pushed the Terriers back ahead by two, nailing a triple on the next possession to retake the lead, 46-44. Vannoy then continued to help Hiram push ahead, assisting on the next basket by Kayla Yost, before tipping the ball away to start a fast-break by Jones. Jones sank both free throws following a foul on the break, and Hiram held a six-point lead (50-44).
Wittenberg would cut into the advantage once again, pushing back to within a basket (52-50) with 28 seconds to play. However, a pair of Shockley free throws sealed the fate of the game, giving Hiram the four-point win, 54-50.
Defensively, the Terriers, who rank first in the NCAC in forcing opponents' turnovers per game (23.1) pressured Wittenberg into committing 22 miscues.
Jones led the way offensively as the only Terrier in double figures with 20 points. Scott finished with nine points off the bench, while Perrotta, Shockley and Vannoy all scored six. Vannoy also added six assists.
Hiram will look to even their conference record on Wednesday, December 7, when they play host to the College of Wooster. The matchup is scheduled for 6 p.m.