CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College women’s basketball team gutted out a crucial win in the team’s Big South Conference opener on Wednesday night at Templeton Center, knocking off Charleston Southern by a 58-57 margin.
A close battle all night came down to the final few possessions as PC (4-3, 1-0 Big South) went on an 8-2 run to hand Charleston Southern (3-2, 0-1 Big South) the loss. PC next heads to Eastern Kentucky for a 7 p.m. matchup against the Colonels on Friday in the first match of the EKU Comfort Suites Classic while Charleston Southern plays at Wake Forest on Saturday night.
Trailing 55-50 with 3:53 remaining, Karlee Taylor (Asheville, N.C.) knocked down a three-pointer to pull the Blue Hose within two. After a Lakeitha Alston layup, Devin Fothergill (Somerset, Ky.) erased the score with a layup of her own.
Down by two with 1:36 on the clock, Taylor drained her third trey of the night to put PC back in front for the last time, 58-57. The Buccaneers had a chance with 5.6 seconds left on an inbounds pass, but smothering defense from Shonda Burnside (Gray Court, S.C.) and the Blue Hose did not allow the visitors to get a shot off.
Burnside delivered an enormous night for PC, scoring a team-high 17 points—15 in the first half—and grabbing seven rebounds. She also led the team in steals (three) and blocked one shot. Dria David (Lawrenceville, Ga.) also chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Charleston Southern’s Lakeitha Alston led all players with 25 points on the night. Erin Bratcher followed with 15 points and Anicia Dotson collected eight rebounds.
The Blue Hose outshot the Buccaneers with a 43.6 shooting percentage (24-for-55) and outrebounded the visitors as well, 36 to 28.
PC came storming out to start the second half, scoring seven unanswered points from Burnside, Fothergill and Taylor.
Charleston Southern narrowed the gap to two in the first seven minutes, however, as Alston continued to find the bottom of the net.
David helped give the Blue Hose some breathing room with two driving layups to put PC back up six, but Charleston Southern went on a six-point run of their own to pull even midway through the period.
Alston then put the Buccaneers ahead on a free throw before Fothergill responded with a layup to put PC back ahead. Keyonna Allen (Forest Park, Ga.) followed by showing power in the post on a tough bucket to put PC up three. Allen tied a career high with four rebounds on the night.
The teams traded the lead again as Charleston Southern used a free throw and an Erin Bratcher trey for the game's seventh lead change. The play set the stage for a furious home stretch and PC’s heroics en route to the victory.
The Blue Hose trailed for much of the first half before closing strong, going on a 15-6 run to take a 33-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Down 23-18 with 4:55 left in the first half, Burnside scored eight points down the stretch as David, Noelle Carter (Neptune, N.J.) and Chelsea Parker (Asheville, N.C.) chipped in with buckets to erase the deficit and take the lead.
Both teams shot well from the floor in the opening period. The Blue Hose shot an even 50 percent (13-for-26) while the Buccaneers shot at a 42.9 percent clip (9-for-21).
The Blue Hose honored Mariah Pietrowski's (Elizabethton, Tenn.) 1000th career point achievement prior to tip-off.