FRANKLIN, IND. – A red-hot shooting performance in the first half highlighted a close-knit battle for Manchester University at Franklin College Wednesday, Jan. 27.
The Spartans picked up where they left off from a previous two-game win streak over the opening 20 minutes, hitting 62.5 percent from the field, 50 percent from the beyond the arc and a perfect 100 at the charity stripe. That effort helped lift them to as large as a 10-point lead which is what they held at the break (34-24).
The host Grizzlies answered the roll with one of their own in the second half, holding the visitors to 14 points and just above 27 percent shooting. Kayle Comer's three-point bucket with 1:40 left in regulation, as part of a game-closing 14-4 run, gave them their first advantage (50-48) since 2:58 remained in the first period. MU had several opportunities in the waning moments, but a pair of turnovers, two missed free throw chances and a jump shot that was off concluded the contest with Franklin claiming the 50-48 decision.
Senior guard Katie Arterburn (Indianapolis, Ind.) registered her eighth total and third successive double-figure scoring outing with 11 points to lead the Spartans (6-12 overall, 4-7 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference). Junior guard Jenifer Lee (Rockville, Ind.) and senior guard Justine Kruger (Francisville, Ind.) were just off the pace with each scoring eight points. Lee added five rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Kruger was just off double-double territory with eight rebounds and also picked off a team-high three steals. Sophomore forward Tori Christlieb (Culver, Ind.) added a strong line as well with six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Spartans, still part of a three-way tie for fifth with Mt. St. Joseph University and Hanover College, host a pivotal league battle with MSJ Saturday, Jan. 30. Game time is 1 p.m. at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena.
NOTES: Christlieb's three blocked shots were a personal single-game career high … Kruger recorded her ninth five-or-more rebound effort which includes a stretch over the last two appearances where she's averaging 7.5 per contest.