Berea, KY- After being on the road for the past four games, with trips to multiple states, Berea returned to their home court this evening. The final march towards a 2016 USCAA Basketball National Championship bid began with a match up against Kentucky Christian University on the Roland Wierwille Court.
Coming into the contest as the #4 ranked team, Berea came out of the gates running and never looked back as they scored the first five points as the game. KCU did not have an answer for the Mountaineers press as they forced multiple turnovers within the first quarter, helping them race past the Knights early on. Kelsey Tippitt's first three point basket of the game at the 6:20 mark gave the Berea an eight point lead, making the score 12-4. By the end of the quarter, the Mountaineers led by 16 points coming off a Jaime Roberts three point shot to make the score going into the second quarter 24-8.
To begin the second quarter, KCU scored the first three points, cutting into the lead, but Tippitt quickly pushed it back to 16 points with her second made three point shot. A lay-up by Williams at the 4:16 mark made the score 29-11. The Knights used offensive baskets to cut the lead to 13, but the Mountaineers responded with a Tippitt lay-up and went into the locker room with a 15 point advantage, 34-19.
The offensive outburst for Berea disappeared in the third quarter as KCU opened the second half with a 9-4 run to bring them within 10 points of the lead, but the team's defense held tight and did not allow their advantage to drop to single digits. With the help of Anna Loveless' two made free throws with 2:48 remaining in the quarter, the Mountaineers took a 40-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The offense which disappeared in the third quarter reappeared for Berea in the final quarter of the game. After giving up the first basket of the quarter and seeing their lead go down to single digits, back-to-back-to-back baskets from behind the arc, with two coming from Roberts and the third coming from Barnard, allowed the Mountaineers to quickly pushed their advantage back to 18 with a score of 49-31. Berea cruised from that point on, taking as high as a 20 point lead with 4:09 left in the quarter. The team went on to capture the victory with a final score of 59-46. The Mountaineers were led in scoring by Roberts with 17 points. Tippitt finished as the second leading scorer for Berea with a total of 14. Pacing the rebounding efforts for Berea were Barnard and Zacchea Small, who finished with nine each. Williams led the teams in steals with four.
With the win, the team moves to 13-8 on the season and move their winning streak to two. Berea's next action will be part of a doubleheader as the Mountaineers host USCAA opponent the University of Cincinnati-Clermont at Seabury Center Arena. The women's game is scheduled to tip off at 6:00 PM followed by the men's game at 8:00 PM.