Lexington, Ky. – The No. 25 Transylvania women's basketball team seized control of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a crucial 61-47 win against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers on Saturday afternoon at the Beck Center.
The Pioneers sank 8 of 15 three-pointers in the first half to build a 14-point halftime lead that they would use to cruise to victory against the Engineers, who entered the day in a tie with the Pioneers for first place in the HCAC standings.
The Pioneers exacted a measure of revenge against Rose-Hulman, defeating the Engineers by double digits after Rose-Hulman did the same to Transylvania in their first meeting of the season, a 77-59 victory for the Engineers on December 8, 2018, in Terre Haute, Indiana.
By winning on Saturday, the Pioneers improved to 11-1 in HCAC play, moving one game ahead of the Engineers who fell to 10-2 in conference play and 13-6 overall. Transylvania's overall record improved to 17-2 while its current win streak extended to a season-high 12 games.
Saturday's win also snapped a nine-game series win streak for the Engineers, who last fell to the Pioneers on January 24, 2015, in a 67-66 loss.
Three Pioneers hit double-digit scoring on Saturday, led by 13 points apiece from sophomore guard Zenoviah Walker and senior guard Celia Kline. Both players combined to shoot 7 for 10 from behind the arc.
The Pioneers asserted their will from the opening tip, using a hot-shooting first quarter to take a 22-16 lead against Rose-Hulman after one quarter. In the opening minutes, the Pioneers and Engineers traded barbs, surging ahead 9-7 on a hard-fought drive by junior guard Ashton Woodard.
Woodard's runner sparked an 8-0 run for the Pioneers, who received back-to-back three-point connections by Kline and junior forward Shelby Boyle. Transylvania set up sophomore center Miranda Otero on a backdoor feed to take a 19-7 advantage with under three minutes left in the quarter.
The Engineers inched back in the second quarter, slicing Transylvania's lead to 27-23 with 7:23 left in the half, but the Pioneers made their move to take back momentum with a game-changing 13-0 run to craft a double-digit lead; Boyle answered back with another long-range bucket, and Kline delivered a three-pointer following two offensive rebounds by Transylvania to give her team a 32-23 lead.
Kline continued to sizzle, scoring two more buckets before the Pioneers fed sophomore center Elizabeth Hardiman for an inside score to put the Pioneers ahead, 40-23 with 3:17 to go in the half.
Leading by 14 points at the half, Transylvania and Rose-Hulman each went cold in the third quarter as the Engineers outscored the Pioneers 10 to 7 in the frame. The Pioneers erupted on an 8-0 run to begin the fourth quarter to take a 58-39 lead.
Walker buried her fourth and final three-pointer with 3:13 remaining in regulation to give the Pioneers their largest lead of the game at 20.
For the afternoon, Transylvania hit 51 percent from the field to 34 percent by Rose-Hulman. Transylvania held a stark advantage in three-point shooting, hitting 9 of 21 attempts (43 percent) compared to 2 for 12 (17 percent) by the Engineers.
Boyle was the other Pioneer to finish with double-digit points on the night, producing 11 points along with five rebounds, three assists, and one steal while hitting 4 of 6 field goals. Woodard led the Pioneers with a game-high eight rebounds.
The Pioneers now stand alone in first place in the HCAC standings with six games remaining in the regular-season schedule. They next return to action on Wednesday, January 30 as they host the Earlham College Quakers at the Beck Center in another HCAC matchup. Tip-off between the Quakers and Pioneers is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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