Terre Haute, Ind. – The first battle of the 2018-19 season between the two top teams in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference went to the Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers, who defeated the Transylvania women's basketball team, 77-59 on Saturday afternoon at Hulbert Arena.
Saturday's early-season conference matchup between Transylvania and Rose-Hulman pitted a rematch of two teams which have each faced off in the last two HCAC Championship games and were picked to finish 1-2 in this year's preseason coaches' poll.
A pair of runs to the Pioneers' detriment towards the end of the first quarter and early in the second quarter put Transylvania in a hole that was too large to climb out of as the Engineers expanded a 19-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter into a 20-point halftime lead.
While the Engineers scored with consistency to open up the second quarter, Transylvania endured an over four-minute drought to begin the quarter before a bucket from sophomore center Miranda Otero ended a 9-0 run by the home team. Rose-Hulman outscored Transy 17-5 in the quarter to secure a 36-16 halftime advantage.
Transylvania's offense ignited out of the halftime break as the Pioneers began to arduously cut away at the double-digit deficit. Senior guard Celia Kline scored the first five points of the quarter for the Pioneers and was joined by junior forward Shelby Boyle, who also knocked down a straightaway three-pointer to cut the Engineer lead to 38-24. Kline continued her personal scoring mission, shooting 5 for 6 from the floor and hitting on both of her three-point attempts as she scored 12 of her team-high 20 points in the period.
The Pioneers sliced Rose-Hulman's lead to 15 points at the end of the third quarter and Kline began the fourth quarter with another triple to cut the deficit down to 12. A driving layup by junior guard Ashton Woodard brought the Pioneers to within 10, but the Engineers hit a three-pointer on the following possession to grow the advantage to 13. With possessions running, out, the Pioneers resorted to fouling the Engineers down the stretch, who hit 11 of 14 free throws in the final quarter to complete the 18-point home win.
Kline finished the day shooting 8 for 14 from the floor and hit on 4 of 5 three-point shots, adding two assists in the defeat. Boyle produced 10 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block. Sophomore center Miranda Otero added 10 points and five rebounds off the bench for Transylvania.
Rose-Hulman shot 50 percent from the field for the afternoon to 42 percent for the Pioneers.
Transylvania will take a week break as fall semester finals take place before returning to gameplay next Saturday, December 15, hosting the Anderson University Ravens in the final HCAC game of the calendar year. Tip-off between Transylvania and Anderson is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at the Beck Center.
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