Transylvania women’s basketball captures HCAC regular-season crown in 90-52 win vs. Franklin

Players celebrating

Lexington, Ky. – The No. 20 Transylvania women's basketball team clinched its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season crown in four years on Wednesday evening in a 90-52 victory over the Franklin College Grizzlies at the Beck Center.

Playing in its 2018-19 regular-season home finale, Transylvania gave the Pioneer faithful on hand a plethora of achievements to celebrate, sinking a single-game record 18 three-pointers to fuel an offensive procession to its 16th win in 17 HCAC games this year.

In moving to 16-1 in HCAC play and 22-2 overall, the Pioneers sealed up at least a share of first place in the HCAC standings. With one game remaining in all HCAC teams' schedules, the Pioneers can clinch the outright title on Saturday in their conference finale at Anderson University.

The Grizzlies dropped to 7-17 overall and 5-12 in HCAC play.

By virtue of holding a tiebreaker over second-place Rose-Hulman, the Pioneers secured the number one seed in next week's HCAC Women's Basketball Tournament with Wednesday's win, ensuring Transylvania will host the semifinals and championship game in Lexington.

Transylvania's 17th consecutive victory was emblematic of the team's season-long style and personality as the Pioneers hit the previously untouched summit of 18 wins and pummelled Franklin into submission as the game grew longer.

The Pioneers opened up the night 4 for 5 from three-point range on the way to a 16-6 lead midway through the first quarter, eventually closing out the period with a 27-16 advantage.

Franklin fired back in the second quarter, cutting Transylvania's lead down to three points before senior guard Celia Kline splashed home two of her game-high six 3-pointers to stretch out Transylvania's lead to 37-32. Kline's triples sparked a half-ending 18-6 run to vault the Pioneers to a 49-34 lead.

Transylvania hit 9 for 21 from three-point range in the first half as the Pioneers again set the three-point record in sight.

Junior forward Shelby Boyle scored eight of her 17 points in the third quarter as the Pioneers continued to pad their lead to 68-46 after three quarters of gameplay. The Pioneers hit another five 3-pointers in the third quarter to move their way closer to both the record and the regular-season title.

The Pioneers locked down Franklin in the fourth quarter defensively, outscoring the Grizzlies 22 to 6. Sophomore guard Calynn Jackson banked home the record-setting three-pointer with two minutes left to spread the icing upon Transylvania's regular-season championship.

Transylvania finished the night 18 for 38 from three-point range, hitting 47 percent from deep. Franklin was 2 for 12 from behind the arc on the evening. The Pioneers assisted on 23 of their 33 field goals to shoot 48 percent from the field overall.

Kline led three double-digit scorers on Wednesday with 18 points on 6 for 9 three-point shooting while adding four rebounds, two assists, and one block. Kline's six made threes were a season-high for the senior, adding to her HCAC-leading 79 total triples for the season.

Boyle finished with another all-around showing of 17 points on 7 for 12 shooting from the floor along with three rebounds and four assists.

Junior guard Ashton Woodard scored seven of her 10 points in the first quarter and finished the night with seven rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

Senior guard Kristen Hayes led the Pioneers with five assists and added eight points and two rebounds in the win. Freshman guard Grace Shope led the Pioneers with three of the team's 12 steals.

Transylvania's current 17-game win streak equals its win streak from the 2014-2015 season, the last time the Pioneers won the HCAC regular-season title and made the NCAA Tournament.

The Pioneers will wrap up their regular-season schedule on Saturday, February 16 at Anderson University. Transylvania takes on Anderson at 2:00 p.m. at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

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