Feb. 15 – GRANVILLE, Ohio – The Hiram College women's basketball team's first-ever victory in the village of Granville could not have come at a more opportune time. Looking to keep pace in the North Coast Athletic Conference standings, and still fighting for home-court advantage in the opening round, the Terriers knocked off Denison University, 58-55 in overtime, on Wednesday evening.
The win over the Big Red was just the third for the Terriers since joining the NCAC in 1999-2000. The victory also marked the first time in program history that Hiram has bested Denison on their home floor (previous two wins came at home in 2011-12 and 2012-13).
The overtime period saw Hiram (16-8, 8-7 NCAC) hold Denison to just one made basket, as the Terriers outscored the Big Red 6-3 in the final five minutes to grab the win. Hiram forced a trio of Denison turnovers in the last two minutes and received back-to-back buckets by Kaylee Shockley and Mercedes Jones, as well as a pair of key free-throws from Dana Perrotta with three seconds to play, to seal the win.
Overall, the Terriers, who came into the matchup as the conference's peskiest defense, tallied 15 steals, resulting in 21 Big Red turnovers. It marked the eighth time this season that Hiram has amassed at least 15 pilfers, and the 15th time they have cracked double digits.
The matchup didn't start out in favor of the Terriers, as Hiram found themselves trailing by 11 after one quarter of play (18-7).
The Big Red lead ran out to as many as 13 in the second quarter (22-9) before the Terriers started to pull themselves back into the contest. Hiram held Denison to just seven points over the final eight minutes of the opening half, outscoring their hosts 14-7 to shrink the deficit to six (29-23).
The Terrier run continued into the second half, with Hiram using the first seven minutes of the third quarter to push ahead for their first lead of the game. The Terriers outscored Denison 10-3 in that time, getting four points from Allison Vannoy and connecting on all six free-throw attempts.
Through 15 minutes of clock time, which spanned the second and third quarters, the Terriers put together the run of the night, outscoring the Big Red 24-10 to turn a 13-point deficit, into a one-point lead (34-33).
Denison would respond to end the quarter, using a quick, 6-2, swing to take a three-point lead into the final stanza.
The fourth was the most evenly played quarter of the game, with Hiram holding a 17-14 advantage to force the overtime frame. Denison led by as many as six in the quarter as a three by Alison Schafer pushed the Big Red's advantage to 41-35 in the opening minute.
Hiram would respond with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to regain the lead 47-43. The Terriers forced three turnovers in the run, and received four points each from Jones and Shockley.
With the game tied at 52-52, each team would have chances to take the lead. Denison would have the final chance of regulation, but disruptive defense by the Terriers forced the overtime frame, and Hiram would go on for the victory.
Offensively, four starters finished in double figures for the Terriers, including Jones' team-high 12. Vannoy and Perrotta added 11, each, while Shockley finished with 10. Kayla Yost also contributed in a big way, pulling down 12 rebounds.
Of the team's 15 steals, five were raked in by Perrotta, while Jones totaled three. Yost and Clover Kaple each added a pair of steals as well.
With the victory tonight, the Terriers are now part of a log jam in the conference standings. Seeds 3-6 are separated by just one game, with Oberlin sitting third at 9-6 in NCAC play. Denison is currently fourth at 9-7, with Hiram and Ohio Wesleyan knotted in fifth, tied with identical 8-7 marks.
Hiram will conclude the regular season on Saturday, as they play host to Kenyon College at 1 p.m. The matchup will also mark senior day for the team, with three players being recognized prior to tipoff.