Women's Basketball Drops Close Contest to Transy

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team battled the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's first-place team down to the wire, but visiting Transylvania University prevailed for a 72-61 victory Saturday.

The contest marked the eighth annual breast cancer awareness game for the Fightin' Engineers, who honored more than 40 survivors in a special ceremony prior to tip off.

Rose-Hulman (7-10, 5-5 HCAC) came as close as one point, 55-54, with 5:52 to play, but the Pioneers (15-2, 9-1) used a 17-7 run over the final five and half minutes to seal the road victory.

The Engineers had previously lost to the Pioneers, 85-42, back on Dec. 7 in Lexington, Ky.

Freshman Josie Schmidt (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) led Rose-Hulman with 12 points and four rebounds and the Engineers got eight points each from Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville), Sheree Williams (Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton), Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf) and Gracie Gibbs (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa) in a balanced scoring effort.

Rose-Hulman reached the scoring column first, as the Engineers took a quick two-point lead behind two free throws by freshman Kristen Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Seymour). But the Pioneers would go on a 22-6 run over the next 10 minutes to take a 14-point lead (22-8) with 10:27 remaining in the half.

Schmidt drained three jumpers in the paint and a pair of free throws by Gibbs and Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) trimmed Transylvania's lead to seven, 32-25, at halftime.

The teams traded baskets early in the second half before a Gibbs layup at the 15:05 mark made it a three-point game, 38-35. Transy's Nicole Coffman responded with two jumpers and Alex McKenzie added a layup as the Pioneers pushed their lead back to seven, 44-37, but the Engineers made 7-1 run of their own to cut the lead to one, 49-48, at the 7:51 mark.

Schmidt connected on two free throws, freshman Jamie Loving (Normal, Ill./Normal West) completed a conventional three-point play and Schmidt added a layup during the run.

Transy pushed the lead back to five, but two straight 3-pointers by Williams and freshman Ava Paruleski (Shumway, Ill./Beecher City) brought the Engineers back again to within one, 55-54 with 5:34 left.

The Pioneers capitalized on a nearly four-minute scoring drought by the Engineers in the final minutes to seal it.

Marshall added six points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals and Williams finished with seven boards and six assists for the Engineers.

Katelyn Smith added 16 points and McKenzie had 13 points for Transylvania.

The Engineers return to the court when they travel to Anderson Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. matchup. Rose-Hulman's next home game is set for Saturday, Feb. 1, when the squad will honor its three seniors: Ploof, Meadows and Jaci Dalton (Hamilton, Mich./Black River).