WESTVILLE, Ind. - Tiffin women's basketball built a big lead in the first quarter on the road at Purdue Northwest, and was able to hold on down the stretch for a 58-53 victory on Thursday night.
With the win, the Dragons improve to 6-8 on the year after their final official game of the 2019 calendar year. Tiffin will close out the decade with an exhibition contest at Division I member Miami (Ohio) on New Year's Eve.
In the low scoring affair, TU had a slight 3% advantage from the field (36% to 33%) but dominated the Pride on the glass with a 42-29 advantage in rebounds. The Dragons also won the points in the paint battle (32-26) and got more scoring from their bench (33-20) in the victory.
Aarion Nichols led Tiffin with 14 points, while Jada Tate added 11 points and seven boards off the bench. Jensen Hiegel collected nine rebounds for the Dragons, while Kirsten Williams tallied nine points in just 14 minutes of action.
After neither team was able to get much going offensively over the first few minutes, Tiffin jumped out to an early lead with a 13-4 first quarter advantage, capped by an and-one from freshman Maria Dobson.
Layups from Kirsten Williams and Savanah Richards extended the Dragon lead to 13 points early in the second quarter, but PNW responded with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to three and would eventually tie the game at 19 with twenty seconds to go in the opening half.
Tiffin went into the break with the lead, though, as Aarion Nichols was able to convert an and-one in the final seconds to give the Dragons a 22-19 advantage.
The lead would remain at around three for much of the third quarter, before TU got a layup from Nichols with ten seconds left that gave the visitors a five-point advantage, 37-32.
Tiffin built a nine-point lead early in the fourth, but the Pride battled back to even the score at 43 with 3:14 remaining. A Jada Tate free throw followed by a layup and a triple from Richards quickly put the Dragons back in front by six just 90 seconds later. Tiffin went on to go 7-7 from the free throw line in the final minute to hang on for the five-point win.
As mentioned, Tiffin will have some time off for the holidays before visiting Miami (Ohio) for the exhibition on Dec. 31. Conference play resumes Jan. 4 at Ohio Valley.