Spartan Women Flex Defensive Muscle in 56-53 Victory Versus No. 12/16 Denison

Erin Hollinger
Erin Hollinger

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Senior forward Erin Hollinger (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) scored a game-high 19 points, classmate Chelsea Peck (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) bettered her career-high from a day ago with 15 points, and the Spartans flexed their defensive muscle surviving a late rally in a thrilling 56-53 victory versus visiting No. 12/16 nationally-ranked Denison University on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the 2011 University Athletic Association/North Coast Athletic Conference Challenge at Horsburgh Gymnasium.

The Spartans level their record at 3-3 on the young season and will continue the non-conference portion of their schedule on Wednesday evening, November 30 versus cross-town rival John Carroll University at 6:00 p.m. With the loss, Denison slips to 4-2 overall.

For the game, the Spartans held the Big Red to 37.5 percent shooting from the field (21-of-56), including 24 percent (6-of-25) in the opening half.

In addition to her game-high 19 markers on 8-of-15 shooting and 3-of-4 at the free throw line, Hollinger added six rebounds and a team-best three assists. Peck's career-high of 15 points came on 6-of-8 shooting and a perfect 3-of-3 at the charity stripe. Freshman forward Berit Eppard (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek) finished with six points and six rebounds, while junior forward Marissa Miles (McDonald. Pa./Fort Cherry) added a career-best and team-high eight boards.

Denison was paced by Alyx Ingram with 10 points, while Nicole Coggins, Paige Robnett and Kyli Parker each finished with eight points apiece. Additionally, Gretchen Staubach finished with seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.

In the opening stanza, the two teams traded defensive stops as points were hard to come by. Tied at 17-17 with 4:15 remaining, the Spartans scored six in a row and possessed their largest lead of the first half at six (23-17) with just 32 seconds left when freshman guard Brooke Orcutt (Morrison, Colo./Dakota Ridge) hit one-of-two charity tosses. The score remained that way headed into the halftime intermission.

In the second half, Case built its advantage to eight several times despite comeback attempts from the Big Red. However, Denison slowly chipped away extending the game with quick fouls and baskets and eventually cut the deficit to three at 56-53 with 21 seconds left on a lay-up from Parker. After a Case missed free throw, a pair of game-tying attempts by the Big Red fell short and the Spartans hung on for the 56-53 non-conference victory.

Also of note, Case committed a season-low four turnovers as a team.