Defense wins the day for Pioneers at Anderson, 61-51

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Anderson, IN – Using a staunch third quarter in which they limited their opponent to six points, the Transylvania women's basketball team came from behind to upend Anderson, 61-51 at the O.C. Lewis Gym.

The Pioneers improved to 13-6 overall and 9-3 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, good for a third place-tie with Franklin in the HCAC standings.  

Senior guard Katelyn Smith and freshman guard Celia Kline led the way for the Pioneers in scoring with 15 points each. Reigning HCAC Player of the Week, senior guard Shawn Kolani had a potent night with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

After a quick 9-4 start to the game led by scoring from Smith and Kolani, the Pioneers slogged through a laborious rest of the first half, shooting 33 percent from the field. However, Transylvania returned the favor on the defensive side of the floor, limiting the host Ravens to 29 percent field goal shooting in the first half.

While the Pioneers never led in the second quarter, Anderson was unable to create necessary breathing room as Transylvania stayed within a margin of four or less for the entire quarter, eventually drawing within two points at the halftime break.

After Anderson scored on their opening possession of the second half to take a 30-26 lead, the Pioneers unveiled a figurative seal on the hoop, stifling the Ravens to just four points the rest of the quarter.

Successive scores by Kolani and Smith tied the game at 30, and another jumper by Smith on the following possession gave the Pioneers a lead they would never relinquish. The early second half scoring assault by the Pioneers resulted in an 11-0 run for a 37-30 lead with 4:47 left in the third quarter.    

Transylvania imposed a scoring drought upon Anderson of 7 minutes and 15 seconds in the third quarter to outscore the Ravens, 15 to 6.

Carrying a 41-34 lead into the fourth quarter, Transylvania continued the defensive lockdown against Anderson, using key steals by Kline and senior guard Lindsay Hieronymus to grow Transy's lead to their largest of the night at 15 with under 5 minutes left in the game.

Kline had 13 of her 15 points in the second half to post her third double-figure scoring night in the last four games. It was the sixth game this season Kline has scored in double digits.

Transylvania's field goal figures improved to 41 percent in the second half, while their defensive impact upon Anderson remained steadfast, holding the Ravens to 28.6 percent from the floor in the second period.

The Pioneers wasted few opportunities on this afternoon, shooting 16-for-18 from the free throw line, with sophomore forward Rachel Cox notching all seven of her points on the afternoon on 7-for-8 shooting on the line. Cox also added seven rebounds, coming off of her buzzer-beating heroics on Wednesday against Earlham.

The win was the seventh in the last eight games for Transylvania, and the 197th head coaching victory of head coach Juli Fulks's career as she narrows in on a significant career milestone of 200 wins. The Pioneers have six games remaining in their regular season and need two more HCAC wins to clinch a HCAC tournament berth.

Transylvania continues its push towards the postseason as they return home this Wednesday, February 3, as they host Hanover (4-8 HCAC, 8-11 overall) at the Beck Center. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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