North Manchester, Ind. – The No. 6/8 Transylvania women's basketball tightened its grip further upon the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title with a dominant 87-35 victory against the Manchester University Spartans on Saturday afternoon at the Physical Education and Recreation Center (PERC).
The Pioneers erupted for a 23-0 run elapsing the final five minutes of the first quarter and into the second quarter to capture their 16th straight victory to begin the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule. The 52-point win represented Transylvania's largest margin of victory this season.
The Pioneers increased their season-high win streak to 19 games, moving to 22-1 on the season and 16-0 in conference play with one week remaining in the regular season.
Saturday's win was Transylvania's 33rd consecutive win against a conference opponent dating back to December 2018 of the previous season.
Manchester dropped to 5-11 in conference play and 8-15 on the season.
Shelby Boyle erupted for 17 points and 13 rebounds to capture her fourth double-double of the season, hitting on 6 of 9 field goals and 2 of 4 from downtown.
After Manchester jumped out to an 8-4 advantage to start the day, the Pioneers scored the final 18 points of the quarter for a 22-8 lead after one quarter. Calynn Jackson connected on both of her three-point tries in the first quarter for eight points on the way to scoring a season-best 13 points.
Dasia Thornton scored the final two points of the first quarter and continued a personal 7-0 scoring run into the second quarter on a three-point play and another inside conversion as the Pioneers grew their lead to 27-8, one minute into the second period.
The Spartans quashed the Pioneer scoring run but Transylvania continued to apply pressure via three consecutive triples by Ashton Woodard, Kennedi Stacy, and Gracie Haywood for a 36-15 advantage with 5:27 left in the half.
Transylvania put the game out of reach early, erupting for another double-digit outburst with the final 14 points of the half to cultivate a 50-17 halftime lead. The Pioneers held Manchester to 13 percent shooting in the first half and just 2 of 15 on three-point attempts.
The Pioneers kept their defensive intensity high in the third quarter, outscoring Manchester 19 to 5; the Spartans were held to under double-digit scoring in the first three quarters of the game. The Pioneers finished off the defensive masterpiece by limiting Manchester to a 4 for 22 shooting display from the field in the final quarter.
Manchester's 35-point output represented the fewest amount of points scored by a Transylvania opponent this season; the Pioneers held Anderson to 38 points previously on January 25 at home.
The Pioneers buried 10 of 28 triples while stymying Manchester into 4 for 36 shooting from deep.
Thornton joined Jackson and Boyle in double figures with 11 points off the bench, hitting all four of her field goals and all three of her free throws. Zenoviah Walker paced the Pioneers with five assists while adding eight points, six rebounds, and two steals in an all-around display.
The Pioneers will next play on Wednesday, February 19 in an HCAC-deciding showdown against rival Hanover College.
Transylvania leads the Panthers by one game in the HCAC standings and defeated Hanover 85-68 in Lexington on January 15. With two games remaining in the regular season for both teams, the Pioneers can clinch the outright HCAC regular-season championship and the number-one seed in the HCAC Conference Tournament with a win on Wednesday. Transylvania and Hanover are scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off in Hanover, Indiana at Collier Arena.
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