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Pioneer women beat Case Western for 5-0 start

CLEVELAND — Marietta College used a big third quarter to erase an eight-point halftime deficit and went on to defeat Case Western Reserve University 77-70 Tuesday evening women’s basketball action. The Pioneers improve to 5-0 on the season, while the Spartans fall to 3-6 overall.

“We played really well in the second half. In the first half we were sending them to the foul line too much, and that really slowed down our offense,” Marietta head coach Kole Vivian said. “In the second half, we started defending better and didn’t give them anything easy. Then we started getting in a groove on offense and making some shots.”

Erin Hahn hit a couple of layups and Olivia Gribble nailed a 3-pointer as the Pioneers jumped out to an early 9-2 lead. CWRU responded with six straight points trimming the Marietta lead to one.

The score remained close the remainder of the first quarter with four lead changes and three ties. Marietta led 22-21 at the end of the first period.

Case Western Reserve opened the second quarter with an old-fashioned three-point play to take the lead. Kayla Characklis scored a layup and the free throw for a 24-22 lead. The teams traded small leads over the first five minutes of the period with Characklis knotting the game at 30-30 with 5:03 left in the quarter.

The Spartans took advantage of a Pioneer cold snap and built a 10-point lead. CWRU used a 14-4 run to take a 44-34 lead with 40 seconds remaining in the half. Hannah Kroft hit a jumper cutting the Spartan advantage to eight points, 44-36, at halftime.

Marietta opened the third quarter with eight straight points to even the score, 44-44. Ally Grake drained a three-pointer to start the run and Gribble added a layup and three-pointer to erase the CWRU lead.

Kate Liston nailed a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the period giving the Pioneers a 57-54 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Gribble hit her fourth triple of the night giving Marietta a 63-61 lead with 7:55 left in the game. The Pioneers would not relinquish the lead again. A fifth trey from Gribble and a driving layup from Devin Hefner extended the MC lead to six points, 74-68, with three minutes left in the game.

Case Western Reserve failed to close the gap and was forced to foul Marietta. Hannah Schill converted 1-of-2 free throws and Hahn made a pair from the charity stripe to seal the victory.

Gribble was 5-for-8 from three-point range and finished with a team-high 17 points. Three other Pioneers were in double figures with Hefner scoring 12, Liston 11 and Hahn added 10 points. Makenzie Wilson grabbed seven rebounds and Camille Cummins had six.

Abbey Lawrence led all scorers with 23 points. Characklis scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Spartans. Margaret Terry added 10 points.

Marietta opens Ohio Athletic Conference play this Saturday when Ohio Northern University visits Ban Johnson Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

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