Dragons Fly Past Cougars, Win Home Opener

Dragons Fly Past Cougars, Win Home Opener

TIFFIN, Ohio - Tiffin women's basketball used a 17-5 run late in the third quarter to pull away from Mount Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday, defeating the Cougars 83-69 in the Dragons' home opener.

With the win, the Dragons improve to 1-2 on the year while handing NAIA-member MVNU their first loss of the season as they fall to 6-1.

Aarion Nichols led Tiffin with 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in an all-around effort. Jasmine Watts was not too far behind, tallying 11 points, seven boards, and two blocks.

Three other Dragons were in double figures, as Jensen Hiegel scored 12 points, Danelle Bradley had 11, and Brooke Wesner added a career-high 11 points off the bench. Hiegel also had nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists, coming just one rebound and three assists shy of a triple-double.

Tiffin shot just under 50% from the field (46.3%) while holding MVNU to 37.7%. The Dragons also had the advantage from deep, shooting 44.4% (8-18) against the Cougars' 36.0% (9-25). Tiffin only turned the ball over 12 times, while holding a big margin in points off turnovers at 16-6. TU also had a major advantage down low, outrebounding MVNU 47-38 and outscoring them in the paint 42-26.

Bradley got the scoring going for Tiffin right away with a triple from the left wing in the Dragons' first possession. The first quarter seesawed back and forth with seven lead changes, before a Jada Tate layup made it 25-24 in favor of the Cougars heading into the second period. 

Tiffin grabbed the lead early in the frame, as Savanah Richards blew by her defender for a driving layup and Hiegel followed with a triple to put TU up four. The Dragons still held a one-point advantage, 40-39, at the 4:20 mark, but Tiffin then went on an 8-0 run to grab their biggest lead of the first half at nine on a Nichols jumper with 1:15 remaining. MVNU countered with a triple in the final minute, but Tiffin still went to the break with a six-point advantage at 48-42.

TU still led by five, 51-46, with 5:57 to go in the third quarter. The Dragons then exploded for the 17-5 run, including the final 11 points unanswered as Kara Gealy nailed a triple, Tate added a free throw, Nichols had a jumper, and Hiegel and Wesner capped the run with back-to-back threes. The 17-point lead with 2:08 remaining in the quarter, 68-51, would be their largest of the game. 

The Cougars kept fighting, mounting a bit of a run and cutting the deficit to single digits at eight, 73-65, with 4:26 to play. Wesner responded with a big three from the right wing to end the run, however, and the Dragons played great defense and held MVNU to just four points for the remainder of the contest, taking the 83-69 win.

Tiffin's homestand continues on Thursday when they host Wright State-Lake at 5:30 p.m.