Junior guard Danielle Day (Newbury) scored what turned out to be a pair of game-winning free-throws as the Hiram College women’s basketball team beat Wittenberg University, 57-54, in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium. The win also marked the first victory for the Terriers against the Tigers in program history.
Hiram (8-13, 3-9 NCAC) grabbed an early three-point lead in the opening minutes of the first half. Wittenberg (9-11, 5-6 NCAC) came back to even the score at 5-5 shortly after and led for the majority of the remainder of the period. The Tigers led by as many as six points, 23-17, with 5:20 left before the break, but Day then hit a jumper on the Terriers’ ensuing possession that sparked a 7-0 scoring run, putting Hiram ahead, 24-23, at the 3:07 mark. Wittenberg scored the final five points of the half to regain the lead and take a 28-24 cushion into the locker rooms.
Wittenberg led by as many as six points in the first 7:14 of the second half, including a 39-33 margin with 12:46 left in the game. Hiram then made another run thanks to a three-pointer by senior guard Calysia Smyers (Akron/Coventry) and a basket by senior forward Brenna Host (Seven Hills/Normandy) to pull Hiram to within a point, 39-38, at the 11:50 mark. The two teams went back-and-forth until Wittenberg would garner a five-point edge, 50-45, thanks to a series of six straight free-throws with the last one coming with 6:09 left to play. The Terriers rallied again to even the score, but trailed by one, 54-53, at the 3:33 mark. Day then connected on a pair of free-throws that tied the game for the 11th time and then gave the Terriers the lead, 55-54, with 2:28 to go. Neither team would score again until eight seconds remaining when sophomore guard Kelsey Koskinen (Madison) nailed down two more free-throws to extend the Hiram lead to three points, 57-54. On Wittenberg’s ensuing possession, the Tigers tossed an errant pass out of bounds without getting a possible game-tying shot attempt off giving the ball back over to Hiram sealing a 57-54 victory.
Wittenberg shot 29.1 percent (16-of-55) overall as a team and committed 19 turnovers. The Tigers were led in scoring by Enri Small with 12 points on three-of-six shooting (50.0 percent) and six-of-nine (66.7 percent) at the free-throw line.
Hiram shot 36.7 percent (18-of-49) from the field and an impressive 81.8 percent (18-of-22) at the charity stripe. The Terriers had three players score in double figures with Smyers leading the way with 13 points on four-of-six shooting (66.7 percent). Day and freshman forward Christy Griffin (Middlefield/Cardinal) each scored 12 points in the win. In addition, Day recorded game-highs of 11 rebounds and four assists.
Hiram will return to action tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 2) when the Terriers host No. 1 nationally-ranked DePauw (Ind.) University in a NCAC contest at Price Gym. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Hiram men’s team. The women will tip-off against DePauw at 2 p.m., followed by the men against Denison University at 4 p.m.