Playing first-place teams has become quite the winning formula for the Hillsdale College women's basketball team lately.
For the second game in a row, the Chargers were matched up against the first-place team in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. And for the second game in a row, the Chargers passed that test in impressive fashion.
Hillsdale defeated the University of Findlay 75-67 in a well-rounded effort Saturday afternoon at the Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena. The win makes the Chargers 9-6 overall and 7-4 in G-MAC play, while the Oilers fell to 13-3 on the season.
This was a back-and-forth contest, with each team taking control in one quarter, only to see the other team respond. Hillsdale played an outstanding second quarter, outscoring the Oilers 20-12, following up on a first-quarter run that ended with Hillsdale scoring nine of the final 11 points. Hillsdale entered halftime with a 42-33 lead.
That lead grew as large as 14 points late in the second quarter, but the Oilers answered in the third, outscoring Hillsdale 19-11 to cut the deficit to 1, 53-52.
The Chargers answered early in the fourth quarter, quickly extending the lead back to 8 on a layup by Maddy Reed. That would end up being the final margin, as the Chargers played smart basketball in maintaining its lead, and carefully answering all points scored by the Oilers down the stretch.
Findlay closed to within two points, 67-65, on a layup by Elissa Ellerbrock. But junior Makenna Ott hit two free throws in the next possession, and the Chargers were able to finish the game on an 8-2 run. Allie Dittmer and Bree Porter swished free throws in the game's final two minutes to keep the team ahead.
All five starters scored 7 points or more for Hillsdale, led by 18 from junior Brittany Gray. She connected on 7-of-12 field goal attempts and had 4 rebounds in 35 rugged minutes on the floor. Ott scored 17, grabbed 6 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field (7-for-14).
Dittmer had 13 points and 5 rebounds while Reed hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 8. Freshman guard Jaycie Burger made her first home start and had 7 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists.
Hillsdale had 11 offensive rebounds, which led to 17 second-chance points in the win. The Chargers were responsible on their defensive boards as well, holding Findlay to just two second-chance points.