Claire Gritt records 17 points and Jordyn Alt adds 14
DENVER – The University of Denver women's basketball team never trailed for a single moment against Fort Wayne, as the Pioneers rolled to victory, 73-55 inside Gates Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
DU moves to 10-7 on the season and 1-1 in the Summit League, while the Mastodons dropped to 3-13 and 0-3 in the Summit.
Claire Gritt directed Denver to victory, as the freshman recorded 17 points, finishing 50 percent (6-for-12) from the field and a perfect 100 percent (3-for-3) from downtown. Gritt also had four rebounds.
Not far behind Gritt was Jordyn Alt, who scored 14 points. The senior also notched six rebounds, leading the team with Briana Johnson.
As a team, the Pioneers shot 39.1 percent (25-for-64) from field-goal range and 31.3 percent (5-for-16) from 3-point territory. DU grabbed 40 rebounds, forced 18 turnovers and had 14 assists.
Gritt got the Crimson and Gold going to start the contest, as the freshman connected on back-to-back 3s for the first buckets of the contest.
Quick to answer was Fort Wayne's Hannah Albrecht, who drained a trey on the Mastodons' next possession.
Despite DU starting the game on an 8-3 run, Fort Wayne started a run of its own, 6-2 coming within one point of Denver.
However, the Pioneers were quick to push the lead back to five, thanks to four points from Carie Weinman and Abi Curtin from the charity stripe.
A big 3 from Fort Wayne's Hannah Hess brought the team back within striking distance, but a Johnson layup to beat the first quarter buzzer extended the margin at the break, 19-14.
Both teams came out hot to start the second, as they each scored on their first four possessions.
Down by only six, 30-24, a deep 3 from the Mastodons' Hess had the home team within three with two minutes until the break.
Denver responded strongly, with a 7-2 run to end the first half, capped by a pair of free throws from Alt.
At halftime, DU led 37-29, with Gritt guiding the way with 13 points. The Arlington Heights, Ill. native shot 57.1 percent (4-for-7) from the field and 100 percent (3-for-3) from behind the arc.
As a team, the Pioneers went 31.2 percent (10-for-32) from field-goal range and 40 percent (4-for-10) from 3-point territory. As a team, they recorded 19 rebounds, forced nine turnovers and had six assists.
The third period started hot for the Crimson and Gold, as well as the Mastodons, as each team answered each other with baskets on three straight possessions.
A Nelson 3 with less than five minutes left in third gave Denver its biggest advantage of the contest so far, 47-36. The triple ignited a 9-5 run for the Pioneers, and at the end of the quarter the squad led, 53-41.
A layup from Samantha Romanowski extended the DU margin to 14 points at the start of the fourth quarter. An Albrecht basket cut the lead back down to 12, but Fort Wayne failed to get any closer.
The Crimson and Gold return to Denver on Thursday, as they are set to face South Dakota State at 7 p.m. inside Hamilton Gymnasium.