Lancers’ second half rally falls short at PC

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, January 5, 2017

A season-high 13 three-pointers, including nine in the opening half, helped the Presbyterian College women’s basketball team storm out to a 23-point first half lead, before holding off a second-half Longwood University rally to earn a 65-55 win Tuesday night at the Templeton Center.

With the Blue Hose holding their largest lead of the night at 23 points with 3:10 remaining in the first half, the Lancers put together a 12-5 run to close the half to cut the Blue Hose lead to 16 at the half. Longwood used the momentum gained from the end of the half to cut into the Presbyterian advantage further, clawing to within seven points with four minutes left in the game. However, that’s as close as the Lancers would get the rest of the way.

“You can’t play 20 minutes of basketball and expect to win conference games,” said Longwood Head Coach Bill Reinson. “Tonight’s game was lost in the opening half and, as hard as we battled after halftime, we just couldn’t overcome it.”

The Blue Hose hit three free throws down the stretch to hand themselves their third win in the last five games.

“In the second half, we were able to cut the lead a few times,” Reinson said. “However, once we got close we made some mental errors that allowed them to extend it again.”

Longwood’s second-half comeback was sparked by a team-high 17-point, 6-rebound effort from Longwood freshman guard/forward Dayna Rouse. A product of Pittsburgh, Pa., Rouse, who had 11 of her 17 points in the second half, finished 8-of-15 from the floor, scoring in double figures for the third time in the last four games.

“Dayna was sensational in the second half,” Reinson said. “She’s still adapting to the college game and will become more consistent as she gains experience. We really need her to become a consistent scorer for us.”

The Lancers (3-9; 0-1 Big South) fall to 0-1 in Big South Conference play and see their two-game win streak come to a halt. Meanwhile, the Blue Hose (3-9; 1-0 Big South) snap a two-game losing streak and win their conference opener for the second straight season.

Presbyterian junior guard Cortney Storey, sophomore guard Taylor Petty, junior guard Janie Miles and freshman guard Kacie Hall combined for 46 of their team’s 65 points, while Miles, Petty and Hall accounted for eight of Presbyterian’s 13 three-pointers. The Blue Hose made 10-plus three-pointers for the fourth time on the season.

Petty, with 15 points, led the effort for Presbyterian, while Storey and Miles added 11 points apiece. In addition, Storey added a game-high nine assists in the effort.

Coming off a 5-block, 6-assist day in Longwood’s win over Milligan College, freshman guard Khaila Hall continued to stuff the stat sheet with an effort that saw the Cleveland, N.C., native finish with seven points, three rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in 33 minutes of playing time.

Longwood’s three-headed attack at the point guard position — Hall, junior guard Micaela Ellis and sophomore guard Ciarah Bennett — combined for nine of Longwood’s 10 assists. Hall and Ellis finished with at least three assists for the third straight game after coming into Tuesday’s contest ranked among the top-10 in assists within the Big South.

Up next, Longwood opens its home schedule Saturday against the University of North Carolina at Asheville. That will mark the first of two straight home games for the Lancers and the first of four consecutive contests inside Virginia. Saturday’s game against the reigning Big South regular season and tournament champion Bulldogs is set for a 2 p.m. tipoff inside Willett Hall.