Lexington, KY- The women's basketball team, ranked fourth in the most recent USCAA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches poll, returned to the court this evening after a two week hiatus. The team traveled north on I-75 to Transylvania University to compete in the Pat Deacon Classic. Along with the Mountaineers and the host Pioneers, the seventh installment of the classic included the University of Dubuque and the Vikings of Augustana College (Ill.), the team Berea faced in in the opening match. The Vikings entered the game with a 10-0 record.
Augustana started the game on an 11-4 run before a 9-1 scoring rally by the Mountaineers gave the team their first lead of the game, 13-12. After falling behind 23-15, Bri Lanham scored eight straight points to tie the game at 23, before six staight points from the Vikings broke the tie and gave them a 29-23 advantage. A pair of free throws from Lanham and a three-point jump shot from Bethanie Williams brought Berea within one point of the lead, 29-28, as the first quarter ended.
The teams traded baskets to begin the second quarter and with the score 33-30 in the favor of Augustana at the 6:37 mark, the Mountaineers outscored the Vikings 20-9 over the remaining minutes of the quarter, including a three-point basket from Jaime Roberts to retake the lead, 35-33. The score became knotted at 42 each before Berea scored eight straight points, which included a pair of free throws from Zacchea Small along with three-point baskets from Roberts and Kiley Barnard, to give the Mountaineers a 50-42 advantage heading into halftime.
Barnard's three-point jumper at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter ended a 16-0 Augustana run to make the score 58-53. Berea pulled within three points of the lead off of Williams' jump shot, making the score 63-60, before a 9-3 scoring streak by the Vikings gave them a 72-63 lead heading into the final quarter.
Trailing by 11 points in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers scored eight straight points, with five from Williams and a three-point basket from Roberts, to pull within three points of the lead, 74-71. Augustana pushed their lead back out to six points, 77-71, until a layup from Barnard and Williams' jump shot cut the deficit to just two points, making the score 77-75. With 4:28 remaining in the contest and Berea trailing 82-76, a 12-2 run orchestrated by Lanham's seven points and five points from Williams gave the Mountaineers the final lead change of the game and the team made the necessary free throws to walk off the court with a 95-89 victory, giving the Vikings their first loss of the season and moving on to the championship game of the Pat Deacon Classic.
Five players finished with double figures in scoring for Berea, led by Williams and Lanham with 23 points each. Barnard (18), Roberts (12) and Kristen Barnes (10) were the other Mountaineers to finish in double digits in the points column. Nakeisha Greene and Lanham both finished with a team-high seven rebounds while Barnard and Roberts finished tied for the lead in assists with seven each. Lanham also finished with three steals. Berea's defense forced 28 turnovers which they scored 45 points off of. The team also shot 52% from behind the arc.
Berea (6-4) moves on to the championship game of the Pat Deacon Classic against the host Transylvania University. Live video and live stats for the chamipnship game slated for tomorrow night at 7:00 can be found here.