TERRE HAUTE – Behind a career-performance by sophomore Carrie Morris, the Rose-Hulman women's basketball team held off visiting Franklin College for a 65-61 upset victory Wednesday at Hulbert Arena.
The Fightin' Engineers (9-15, 7-10 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) kept their postseason tournament hopes alive with one regular-season game remaining. Rose-Hulman currentlystands in a three-way tie for sixth place with Earlham and Defiance after Wednesday's contests.
The top six teams advance to the HCAC Tournament, set for Feb. 28.
Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) finished with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including a perfect 7-for-7 performance at the free-throw line, including two late to seal the win. Her previous career-high was 14 points. Freshman Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists for RHIT, which snapped a three-game losing skid against the Grizzlies (13-11, 11-6 HCAC) and avenged an earlier-season loss.
The Engineers opened the game on an offensive tear, taking its largest lead of the game at the 6:57 mark of the first half when Kristen Belyea's (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) 3-pointer from the wing gave RHIT a commanding 13-point cushion, 29-16.
Fueled by 10 points from Morris and seven points each from Marshall and sophomore Andi Evers (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame), Rose-Hulman headed into the break with a 38-31 lead after a 50 percent (15 of 30) outing from the floor.
The Engineers managed to hold a slim lead through the second half's first 10 minutes before the Grizzlies made their run to tie the game at 49-all with a Kayle Comer triple at the 10:03 mark. Comer drilled another jumper three minutes later to give the visitors the lead, 53-51, but Marshall answered with a layup of her own to knot the score at 53-all at the 7:15 mark.
Morris then made two big shots – a layup and jumper from the baseline with the shot clock winding down to give the Engineers a 59-55 lead with 3:22 left. Franklin made two from the charity stripe to pull within two and Nichole Thompson made a layup to again the tie the game at 59 with 2:23 on the clock.
The teams traded baskets before Belyea drilled two from the free-throw line to give RHIT a 63-61 lead, setting up two Morris free throws with 12 seconds left to set the final score. The Engineers' defense came up with the stop to seal the victory.
Rose-Hulman outrebounded Franklin 37-28, finishing 49 percent from the field (24-for-49), compared to 44 percent (22-of-50) by Franklin. The game featured six lead changes and eight ties, as the Engineers outscored the Grizzlies 19-0 in second-chance points.
Katie Brewer led the Grizzlies with 13 points and Comer added 12 points.
The Engineers travel to Mount St. Joseph Saturday to conclude the regular season.