DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College women's basketball team earned a key, 61-51, Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory over the Mount St. Joseph University Lions on Saturday afternoon at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
The Yellow Jackets (5-10, 3-5 HCAC) were led in scoring by junior Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood), who scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Sophomore Shelby Stamm (Bellevue) chipped in with 15 points and 11 rebounds (career-high), while senior Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) filled up the stat sheet with seven points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists in the victory.
The Lions came out to a roaring start, scoring 14 of the first 16 points of the contest to take a commanding 14-2 lead at the 4:28 mark of the opening quarter. A jumper from Schalk ended the run before MSJ responded with a layup. DC scored the final points of the quarter on a layup by Sidney Faine (Bluffton/Ada) to cut the deficit to 16-6 after one quarter.
Mount St. Joseph continued by scoring the first five points of the second quarter to take a 21-6 advantage. Schalk halted the MSJ run and kickstarted a DC spurt with a layup at the 8:34 mark. They cut the lead to nine with four straight points from Ervin. After a bucket from the Lions, scored the next nine points and made it a two-point game on a triple from Stamm to make the score, 23-21. Mount St. Joseph made it a 25-21 game but DC responded with a jumper by Brittany Osborne ( ) made it a 25-23 MSJ lead at the break.
MSJ grew the lead back to nine points, 32-23, to open the third quarter, but the Yellow Jackets were relentless, as back-to-back jumpers from Ashley Lee (Millington, Mich.) and Lauren Rogers (Munger, Mich./Bay City Central) cut the lead back to five points. After a Lion jumper, another triple from Stamm cut the lead back to four points, 36-32. This was followed by a free throw and a deuce from Ervin to cut the lead to one before Stamm connected again from outside to give Defiance their first lead, 38-36, at the 5:07 mark. MSJ briefly tied it before Stamm hit her third three-ball of the quarter to give DC a 41-38 lead. The run continued for the Yellow Jackets with a pair of free throws by freshman Cassidy Yant (Churubusco, Ind.) and a layup from Ervin to make it a seven-point Defiance edge before the Lions hit a triple to end the third quarter to make it 45-41.
The Lions would not go down without a fight, as they cut the DC lead to 47-46 in the first two minutes of the final stanza. Defiance drug the lead back to six points on an and-one by Ervin and a pair of free throws from Yant. The Yellow Jackets got the lead to nine before MSJ's Maddie Haberthy hit a triple to cut the deficit to six points with under two minutes to play. Ervin went on to hit a layup and then Stamm made a pair of free throws to make it a 10-point game and put away a 61-51 victory over Mount St. Joseph.
The Lions had three in double figures, led by Haberthy with 16 points, while Lainee Studer added 12 points and seven boards, and Aliyah Huff finished the contest with 10 markers.
Defiance will look to grab another HCAC victory on Wednesday, Jan. 17 as they play the middle game of a three-game homestand with a matchup against the Earlham (Ind.) College Quakers. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm at the Karl H. Weaner Center.