LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Presbyterian College women’s basketball team outlasted a furious Liberty Flames rally on Thursday night to earn a Big South Conference victory in thrilling fashion, 51-49.
PC moves to 8-6 overall and 3-0 in the Big South while Liberty moves to 10-5 and 2-1 in league action. The first-place Blue Hose next travel to Campbell for a 1 p.m. matchup on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Hose enjoyed its largest lead of the game with 5:08 after building a 13-point advantage, 51-38. PC then withstood an 11-point Liberty run to hold on for the victory, its first-ever in 10 meetings with the 14-time league champions.
The Flames nearly tied the game as time expired, but Devon Brown’s layup caromed off the rim to give PC the win.
Mariah Pietrowski (Elizabethton, Tenn.) scored a game-high 17 points, including 11 in the second half. She also grabbed a team-best seven rebounds and went 8-for-11 from the field.
Keyonna Allen (Forest Park, Ga.) also delivered a big outing, pouring in nine points, six rebounds (a career high), three steals (career high), two assists and one block in a personal record 30 minutes played. Devin Fothergill (Somerset, Ky.) matched a career mark with six assists on the night.
PC shot 44.1 percent from the floor (21-for-47) and held Liberty to a season-low 28.1 percent (16-for-57), the first time the Flames have fallen below the 30 percent threshold this season.
Emily Frazier led Liberty with 16 points.
After Liberty grabbed a four-point lead with 16:38 to go, the Blue Hose ripped off a 26-8 run that lasted until the 5:44 mark. Allen handed PC its first short-lived lead of the period on a layup before a Karlee Taylor (Asheville, N.C.) took it back from the Flames less than a minute later on a three-pointer.
Dria David (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Shonda Burnside (Gray Court, S.C.) each made their 100th career appearances in Thursday’s game and their experienced showed. Both contributed heavily during the PC run, including four straight points for David that swelled the Blue Hose lead to 13. Burnside scored 11 on the night and nine in the second half.
Devon Brown threatened to take over the game as Liberty took momentum with its late run, but PC held on to take the victory. Brown finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The visitors outdueled Liberty in assists (19-8), points in the paint (30-22), bench points (11-6) and turnovers (16-15).
The two sides played an even first half as Liberty took a narrow 19-17 edge into the locker room at halftime. Neither side led by more than four, thanks in part to PC’s hard-nosed defense that held the Flames to 25.8 percent shooting in the opening period.
PC spread the ball around with four different Blue Hose scoring midway through the first half.
The Blue Hose took a lead early with a Pietrowski layup before Liberty broke a 5-5 tie 6:14 into the half. From there, Brown and Frazier combined for eight Flames points to grab a four-point edge at the 9:42 mark.
PC found answers from Allen and Pietrowski before David knocked down a jumper from in close with 18 seconds on the clock to cut the gap to two heading into halftime.