TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Defiance College women's basketball team won its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener on Saturday on the road against Rose-Hulman. Senior Kim Comden's career-high 22 points propelled the Jackets to a 56-50 win over the Engineers.
The contest got off to a slow start for both teams, as the squads settled into the flow of the game. DC was up by one point with 12 minutes remaining in the opening frame, after two Rose-Hulman free throws made the score 9-8 Defiance.
From that point on, the Jackets dictated play for much of the first half, as the Purple and Gold went on a 13-3 run to open up an 11-point lead with just over a minute remaining in the stanza. The Engineers responded by scoring the last three points of the half, as the Jackets led 22-14 at the intermission.
DC guard Megan Zachrich opened up the second-half score, as the sophomore's three-pointer in the opening minute extended the Jacket lead to a double-digit lead at 25-14. Zachrich hit another shot from beyond the arc to increase the lead to 16 points before the Engineers' Jaci Dalton made a jumper to bring the score to 33-19 with 15 minutes remaining in the game. Then Comden put the team on her back for an amazing six minutes of play.
The center scored the next 12 points for the Yellow Jackets, as Rose-Hulman had no answer for the senior. Comden shot 6-of-8 in the stretch while knocking down a jumper and converting five layups. Over the six minutes, the Defiance native personally outscored the Engineers 12-5 to open up a 45-24 lead with 10 minutes to play.
A layup by Zachrich less than a minute later gave the Jackets its largest lead of the game at 23 and appeared to put the contest out of reach, but Rose-Hulman came roaring back. The Engineers went on a torrid 26-5 run to make the game a single-possession affair with just under a minute remaining at 52-50. The Jackets' Erica King calmly hit four-consecutive free throws to ice the game away and give the Purple and Gold a 56-50 win.
A key stat to the game was turnovers, as the Jackets forced the Engineers into 20 turnovers while only recording 23 of their own. The game marked the first time all season that Defiance totaled less than 15 turnovers for a contest. The other key stat was produced from the Purple and Gold's aggressive play on the glass, as the Jackets grabbed 14 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points compared to Rose-Hulman's two.
Comden's 22 points marks the third time the senior has eclipsed the 20-point mark in her Yellow Jacket career and the first time the center has led the team in scoring this season. Comden also recorded a season-high 3 blocks and pulled down four boards while dishing out four assists.
The other member of the Purple and Gold to reach double figures was Zachrich, who totaled 10 points. The game marks the third time the sophomore has scored 10 or more points in a game, all coming on the road. The guard also added four rebounds, four assists and a steal in the victory.
With the win the Yellow Jackets are 1-0 to begin conference action and 2-3 on the season. Defiance is back in action on Wednesday, December 5 as the team hosts Anderson in its HCAC home-opener. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.