N. MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Defiance College women's basketball program traveled to Manchester University on Wednesday evening for a key Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference showdown. The Spartans did just enough to narrowly escape with a 64-62 victory over DC to even the teams' conference records at 5-2 and into a second place tie in the standings.
The Jackets got off to a hot start in the game, as Erica King, the school's new all-time career three-point leader, hit a pair of treys in the opening four minutes to give Defiance an early 8-2 lead.
Manchester quickly responded by scoring eight of the next 10 points over a two minute stretch to knot the score up at 10-10. DC's King and Kim Bingley then led the Purple and Gold on a 14-8 spurt, as the duo combined for 10-straight points over the six-minute stretch to give the Jackets another six-point advantage at 24-18 with 6:11 remaining in the first half.
After the run, the Jackets went cold from the field for the remainder of the opening frame, as Manchester outscored DC by a score of 14-3 to grab a five-point halftime lead at 32-27. The Yellow Jackets were led by King in the first, as the junior poured in 12 points on 4-6 shooting from the field, including 3-5 from distance.
Coming out of the break, the Spartans continued to control play, as the hosts increased their lead to 13, the largest of the contest, with just under 10 minutes remaining.
The Jackets tried to chip away at the lead and found themselves down eight points with three minutes left. A King three-pointer and Rachel Ciminillo jumper cut the deficit to a single-possession game at 62-59 with 90 seconds left on the clock. After DC's Megan Zachrich forced a crucial Manchester turnover and came up with a steal, the Yellow Jackets' Hannah Harshman knocked down a huge three to tie the game at 62-62 with under a minute left. The three-pointer was the junior's second of the season and third of her career.
However, the Jackets' rampant comeback was not enough on this night, as Manchester's Erynn Meiklejohn hit a layup with 21 seconds left to give the Spartans a 64-62 lead. Defiance had a shot to tie the game and a three-point attempt to win the contest in the final seconds, but neither fell and the Jackets lost their second HCAC contest of the season.
King led all players in the game in scoring with 22 points on 8-13 shooting. The guard hit 5-10 threes in the game. The other Yellow Jacket who scored in double figures was Zachrich, as the sophomore tallied 11 points and added five assists, four rebounds and four steals.
The Purple and Gold's season record drops to 8-6 with the loss. The Jackets will be back on the hardwood on Saturday, January 12, as the team hosts Mount St. Joseph in a HCAC matchup. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.