Smith shoots Transy past Defiance, into tie for HCAC lead

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Transylvania  knocked off Defiance in a close physical battle 65-53 on Saturday in Heartland Conference women's basketball action at the Beck Center.
The Pioneers move to 9-4 overall and 5-1 in HCAC play while the Yellow Jackets (8-5) came into the contest leading the conference race with a 5-0 mark, is now 5-1 in conference play.  Today's victory ties the Pioneers with Defiance at the top of the conference standings.
Transy had its largest lead in the first half of seven points come at the 8:49 mark after a made layup by Katelyn Smith. The first half proved to be close, as the Pioneers went into the locker room with just a 32-30 lead. 
Both teams shot 38 percent from the field in the first half.  Defiance went 5-15 from beyond the arc, while Transy was unable to connect from the three point range.
The Pioneers were led by the scoring efforts of freshman Smith who tallied 12 points, followed by Nicole Coffman who added eight first half points.  The Yellow Jackets first half scoring leader was Rachel Ciminillo who had eight points in the opening half, shooting 2-4 from beyond three point line.
Defiance came out of the halftime and immediately took the lead 35-33 when Hannah Harshman completed an old fashioned three point play.  The Pioneers never relinquished the lead from the 18:28 mark after Coffman connected from long range.  The largest Transy lead of 12 points came with 11:37 to play after Terra Lucas made a layup putting the Pioneers up 50-38.
Smith led all scorers with 23 points, a career high, followed by a 21-point effort by Coffman.  Coffman, who leads the conference in points per game, was above her 17.8 average.  Alex McKenzie added eight points and six rebounds, with Alex Botkin adding six points and eight rebounds.
Transy stayed consistent from the field shooting 38 percent for the game.  The Pioneers also had a solid performance from the charity stripe, converting 21-27 free throws, for 78 percent.  Transy out-rebounded their opponents as well with a margin of 43-37.
The Yellow Jackets campaign was led by Megan Zachrich who had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kim Comden also added double figure numbers with 11 points and two assists.
Transy is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Hanover at 7:30 p.m. at the Beck Center.