Women's basketball stays in post-season chase with 64-58 win over Franklin

Zoe Curtis with the shot against Franklin College.

RICHMOND, Ind. – Earlham College women's basketball kept itself in the thick of the hunt for a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament berth with a 64-58 win over visiting Franklin College, Saturday afternoon at the Druley Performance Gym.

Earlham improved to 5-9 in the HCAC with the victory, 5-16 overall. The Quakers are among a gaggle of four teams tied for the final HCAC tournament spot in sixth place, with just four games remaining on the conference slate for each team.

The win was also Earlham's fourth in its last six contests.

Four Quakers cracked double figures in the triumph, led by sophomore Zoe Curtis (New Castle, Ind./New Castel) with 19 points on a 9-of-11 shooting effort. The performance was her third straight in double digits, 16th this season, and was just two points off her season high.

Senior Mariah Flynn (Kodak, Tenn./Seymour) tacked on 14 points, her seventh double-digit scoring effort of the season, to go with her game-high eight rebounds and four assists. Camryn White (Louisville, Ky./Christian Academy) and Kyndall Spears (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) each added 10 points.

A 10-0 run in the latter part of the first half vaulted Earlham into a 16-11 lead over Franklin, and the Quakers advanced that lead to 18-13 by the end of the opening quarter.

After Earlham stretched its lead to 11 points, 24-13, following a White bucket at the 7:24 mark of the second quarter, Franklin clawed its way back into the contest briefly made it a one possession game, 28-27, with 2:55 remaining in the frame following a Kelsey Smith 3-pointer. The Quakers answered the challenge with five unanswered points, and took a 33-27 lead into the halftime break.

The Quaker lead reached 13 points, 40-27, early in the third quarter following a Curtis jumper, and Earlham closed out the stanza still holding that 13-point advantage.

Franklin (6-14, 5-9 Heartland) made a late run at the Quakers, using an 11-3 run to cut the margin to 58-55 with 4:38 to play. The Grizzlies trimmed the margin to two points with just over a minute remaining following a Bayleigh Walker trey, but a clutch Spears jumper put the Quakers back in front by four, 62-58, with 34 seconds showing on the game clock. Flynn clinched the win at the foul line with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds remaining.

The Grizzlies were led by Ashlin Aycock with 15 points and five assists, while Erin Bradley netted 10 points. Walker charted seven points to go with eight rebounds.

Earlham women's basketball heads to Hanover, Ind., to face Hanover College on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. That contest will be the first of back-to-back road games for the Quakers.

For more information about Earlham women's basketball, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).