RICHMOND, Ind. – Junior guard Kyndall Spears sealed the deal with a late three to give Earlham College women's basketball its third conference win of the season with a 69-66 victory over Franklin, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday afternoon at the Druley Performance Gym.
One of the strategies Earlham (5-10, 3-5 HCAC) had coming into this matchup was to beat Franklin (5-10, 3-5 HCAC) during the transition. They managed to get ahead but when they got to the rim they had difficulty finishing. Franklin's ball security in the first quarter was lacking, and the Grizzlies turned the ball over nine times. Earlham did a great job of playing on Franklin's turnover frustrations by drawing fouls in order to earn some points from the three-throw line. That advantage had Earlham up 23-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Earlham's Camryn White carried the scoring load earning seven of Earlham's 15 points in the second quarter. Franklin capitalized on Earlham turnovers and was able to pull within two halfway through the quarter. An "and-one" by White sparked the Earlham offense, and the Quakers pulled away to end the half leading by eight, 38-30.
After the half, the intensity of play on the court skyrocketed. Franklin tried a new offensive strategy and found success in attacking the rim, which Earlham had trouble defending mostly due to the size difference. Earlham had a hard time adjusting to the intensity, resulting in bad possessions which gave Franklin the opportunity to come back within striking distance.
Late in the fourth quarter, Franklin went on a 10-point run capped by a three by Mallory Cast to tie up the game, 66-66. With 1.2 seconds left in the game, Acacia Tenette pushed the ball out to Spears who sealed the game with a perfectly floated three-point shot.
Spears had a standout game scoring 16 points, 12 of them being scored in the second half. She went a season-high 4-of-7 from three-point range. Camryn White's efforts cannot be understated; she scored a career-high 23 points. White was 6-of- 20 from field goal range and a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line. The team was almost automatic from the charity stripe with a 19-of-21-mark – a 90.5 free-throw percentage.
Earlham Assistant Coach Maise Elston recapped the game by saying, "We started off strong in the first half getting the ball to the rim and making out free-throws. We had some defensive let ups in the second half, but stayed composed and Kyndall brought it home for us. It was a great team win."
Women's basketball is facing a favorable in-conference stretch beginning with Defiance College on Wednesday at home at 7:30 p.m.