No. 9 Pioneers finish strong at Rose-Hulman to stay undefeated in HCAC play

Woodard action shot

Terre Haute, Ind. – The No. 9 Transylvania women's basketball team maintained its dominant start in conference play with a 72-60 win over the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers on Saturday afternoon at Hulbert Arena.

The Pioneers expanded their season-high win streak to 11 games while augmenting their record in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play to a perfect 8-0 and an overall record of 14-1. Rose-Hulman's upset bid fell short despite a hot start as the Engineers dropped to 2-13 overall and 1-7 in conference play.

In a rematch of the last three Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship games as well as two teams which have shared first and second-place finishes in regular-season conference play dating back the past three seasons, the veteran-laden and experienced Pioneers arrived to Hulbert Arena to take on a young and unseasoned Engineer team featuring seven freshmen and one senior.

In spite of the imbalance on paper, the youthful Engineers rocketed to a 9-0 lead to open up the game behind a collection of midrange shots and a run-capping corner threeball.

Ashton Woodard ended the opening Rose-Hulman run with an inside scoop at the 7:20 mark to jumpstart her potent afternoon as the senior would finish the first half with 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor and a 3-for-5 clip from downtown.

Transylvania's defensive intensity ramped up as the Engineers began to suffer from a succession of turnovers, eventually translating to an 11-0 Pioneer run on the tail end of the first quarter. Woodard buried two 3-pointers while Calynn Jackson added a triple as the Pioneers roared back to tie up the game at 17-17.

After Rose-Hulman scored the first bucket of the second quarter to take back a two-point lead, Zenoviah Walker converted on a three-point play for Transylvania's first lead of the game at 22-21 with 8:30 to go in the half.

Miranda Otero led an inside defensive effort with five blocks in the first half as the Pioneers defensively stifled the Engineers in quarter two, winning the period 16 to 10 to take a 35-29 lead into the locker room at the half. Woodard scored on an and-one runner and her third 3-pointer of the game to finish the half strong for Transylvania.

The Engineers scored a field goal to start the second half before the Pioneers answered with their defining stretch of the afternoon, scoring 13 consecutive points, courtesy of back-to-back scores by Zenoviah Walker, the latter of which was a 3-point basket. On the following play, Walker set up Shelby Boyle for a straightaway look at an on-target three-point bucket for a 48-31 Transylvania advantage. After a scoreless first half for the senior, Boyle put her mark on the afternoon with a 10-point third quarter to finish with 16 points in total.

Rose-Hulman nibbled away at the 17-point lead, eventually cutting the deficit back to 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but Boyle scored another 3-pointer with four minutes left to raise Transylvania's advantage back to 15 points to put the game out of reach.

The veteran trio carried the offensive load for the Pioneers on Saturday as Woodard topped out at 21 points on 6 for 11 shooting from the floor, connecting on all six of her free throws and added five assists. Boyle provided six rebounds and two assists to go with her 16 points while Walker furnished 15 points in shooting better than 50 percent from the field and yielded four assists, three rebounds, and three steals. Kennedi Stacy posted six points off the bench as the Pioneers received 17 points from their reserves.

The Pioneers shot 16 for 18 from the charity stripe on Saturday and outscored the Engineers in points off turnovers, 17 to 9.

Transylvania will wrap up the first leg of their conference schedule next Wednesday at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tip-off between the Pioneers and Lions is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Harrington Center.

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