NOTRE DAME, Ind. - With a week since last taking the court for competitve action, the Defiance College women's basketball team made the trip to Saint Mary's College on Saturday afternoon. After a close battle for much of the afternoon, a high-scoring fourth quarter saw the Belles pull away for a 56-53 victory.
Taylor Day (West Mansfield/North Union) began her strong performance with the first points of the contest just over two minutes into the action. With another layup and a jumper from beyond the arc, Day tallied the first seven points for DC.
After a basket from senior Danielle Carruthers (New London/New London), the Yellow Jackets trailed the hosts 10-9 after the first period of action.
After the slow start to the scoring, Head Coach Allan King was proud of the team's efforts in the next two quarters. "After starting 4-of-16 in the first quarter, we put together two nice quarters, we just couldn't quite finish it off," said King.
Across the two middle quarters, DC outscored the Belles 29-24 as each starter tallied at least two points in the third to climb in front.
With a 38-34 lead, the Yellow Jackets looked to close out the season's first victory. A game-high 22 points in the fourth propelled Saint Mary's in front of DC as the hosts ultimately closed out the narrow win.
"I am proud of the kids, they battled their hearts out today," said King.
The Yellow Jackets won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Belles 49-38. While proud of the efforts on the glass, King acknowledged the turnover deficit, "You don't win many games where you turn the ball over 30 times. Tonight was on of those nights where we were just trying to make plays and were not physically ready to make those plays yet."
Day's quick start pushed her to a game-high 20 points, her first double-digit performance of the season. The sophomore finished just two rebounds shy of a double-double and dished out two assists.
On the glass, Kalyn Pickens (Fort Wayne, Ind./R. Nelson Snider) reeled in a team-high nine rebounds to go along with her five points.
Despite the defeat, the coaching staff is optimistic with the steps taken this afternoon. "You have to be in some tough and tight games to learn how to win and learn how to play," says King. "Until we learn how to do that and take the next step, I think this was a good first step."
The Yellow Jackets will return to action on Tuesday, November 26, as they open the home season in the Karl H. Weaner Center. A visit from local foe, Ohio Northern, is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 pm.