By: Abbey Lipcsik
NEW CONCORD, Ohio – The Hiram College women's basketball team defeated the Fighting Muskies of Muskingum University by a final score of 71-63 on Tuesday night.
With their fifth win of the season, the Terriers are now 5-1 (0-1 NCAC) on the season, while Muskingum stands at 1-2 (0-0 OAC). This ties the best start for Hiram in program history. The Terriers were also 5-1 through six games in both the 1991-92 and 1987-88 seasons.
The Terrier offense quickly got to work in the first three minutes of the game, scoring the first seven points. After a Muskingum layup, Hiram went on a 10-8 run to give the Terriers a seven-point cushion (17-10). Ten of the Terriers' points came from Mercedes Jones, who finished the game with a season-best 25 points.
Muskingum fought back in the second quarter, outscoring the Terriers 16-12 in the first six minutes and cutting the Hiram lead to three (29-26). The Fighting Muskies then tied the game at 29 the next play, but a layup by Jazmine Scott and a three-pointer by Jones in combination with a Muskingum three made the score 34-32 in favor of the Terriers going into halftime.
The Fighting Muskies started out the second half with a 10-2 scoring run to take the lead for the first time in the game (42-36). The Terriers answered back with an 11-4 run, thanks to Allison Vannoy, Jones, Kaylee Shockley, and Dana Perrotta. Both teams stepped up their defensive game, holding each other scoreless in the final three minutes of the quarter.
The final 10 minutes began with a jumper and free throw by Vannoy. After a layup by the Fighting Muskies, Vannoy and Shockley each made a shot to make the score 54-48 with 8:06 left in the game.
In the remaining time, free throws was the key component to the Hiram offense. 11 of the Terriers' 17 points scored during the final minutes came from behind the charity stripe, while the remaining six came from jumpers made by Jones. Although Muskingum made 15 points within the same time, the Terriers prevailed and secured the victory.
As a team, Hiram averaged .458 from the field, marking a new season-high. Jones led the way with her 25 points, while Kayla Yost and Vannoy each had 12. The Terriers also made 24 of their 29 free throws (.828), which also is a new high on the season.
On the defensive end, five Terriers tacked on at least one steal. Perrotta, Shockley, and Vannoy each had two, while Yost and Jones followed with one a piece.
Hiram will play next on Friday, December 2 when they host conference foe DePauw (Ind.) at 6 p.m.