LEXINGTON, Ky. – In a back-and-forth battle that featured five lead changes, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team wasn't able to capitalize on a late rally in Friday's 55-49 loss to Franklin College in the opening round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament at Transylvania's Beck Center.
Kristen Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) led the Fightin' Engineer s with 12 points, include a 4-for-5 showing from behind the 3-point line, and Carrie Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) added 10 points.
The Engineers, who earned a berth into the HCAC Tournament for the fourth-straight season and sixth time under head coach Jon Prevo, finished the season at 10-16 overall.
Franklin (14-12, 11-7) advanced to Saturday's HCAC semifinals, where the Grizzlies will face the No. 2 seed Hanover College in a 5 p.m. matchup in Lexington.
Rose-Hulman led by as many as five points midway through the second half after a Belyea triple made it 40-37 at the 11:43 mark. The Grizzlies would respond though, as Franklin executed a 13-2 run over the next seven minutes to take an eight-point lead, 50-42, with 4:26 remaining.
The Engineers would have one more rally in them, as two Carrie Morris free throws and a layup followed by two more makes from the charity stripe by Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) cut the lead to 1, 50-49, with 2:31 left.
But the Grizzlies turned up their defense and hit their free throws to close out the game and advance to the next round.
Marshall chipped in seven points and four rebounds and Jamie Loving (Normal, Ill./Normal West) led RHIT with eight rebounds in the loss.
Rose-Hulman shot 40.9 percent (18-for-44) from the field for the game, compared to 44.7 percent (21-for-47) by Franklin. The Engineers led at the break, 28-27.
Nichole Thompson and Kayle Comer led the Grizzlies with 12 points each.