Dec.22-ORANGE, Calif.- The Hiram College women's basketball team bounced back from a deficit, tied up the game, but was unable to hold the lead eventually falling 60-57 to Whittier, Friday night.
Despite out rebounding Whittier 57-44, forcing 21 turnovers, and outscoring the Poets 22-14 in the paint, the Terriers could not secure their fifth straight win.
After a career-high night on the first day of the tournament, freshman Madison Branch led the Hiram squad again tallying 12 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist. The trio Freshman Alainna Conroy, junior Bri Burgos, and senior Allison Vannoy collected nine points apiece. Senior Jazmine Scott led the Hiram reserves with seven points on the night.
In the first quarter, the Terriers set the pace rattling off a three from Vannoy, and a jumper from junior Erica Johnson before the Poets could even get on the board (5-0). Conroy had a small run herself sinking two from the charity stripe, and a jumper to pull the Terriers ahead 9-3. From there on Hiram continued to control the ball holding the Poets to just eight points in the stanza.
Hiram cleaned up from the charity stripe in the second quarter, scoring their first three points from the free throw line with Scott, Vannoy, and freshman Tashauna Wright all making a visit. In the last minutes of the quarter, the momentum shifted as the Poets tied it up inside of the two-minute mark (19-19), and washed away their four-point deficit, closing out the second quarter leading 22-19.
In the third quarter, Hiram and Whittier went back and forth with possession, but Hiram fell back into an offensive groove with Burgos dominating over three minutes of play picking up seven of her nine points. A Whittier layup tied up the score with only 21 seconds left in the quarter, but a basket from Scott insured their lead (34-32) going into the fourth quarter.
In the last quarter of regulation, Hiram looked to solidify their lead with Branch knocking down seven of her 12 points, and a jumper from Vannoy stretching the lead to eight points (48-40) inside the two-minute mark. Seconds later the Poets went on an eight-point run to tie up the score with less than thirty seconds to go (48-48).
For the first time, this season the Terriers headed into overtime play. Hiram was unable to crack down on the Whittier offense, with them going on a six-point run in the opening minutes (54-48). With 26 seconds left, a Wright basket put Hiram in reach by two points (57-54). With only three seconds left on the clock, Branch shot a three closing the gap to (60-57), but with time running out the fate of Hiram was sealed.
The Terriers will get back to conference play Wednesday, January 3 as they take on Oberlin at home. The matchup is slated for a 7:00 pm start.