#2 Berea Wins Slugfest Against Kentucky Christian University

Kiley Barnard putting the finishing touches on a layup.
Kiley Barnard putting the finishing touches on a layup.

Grayson, KY- The women's basketball team, ranked the second best team in Division I USCAA Basketball by the coaches, pulled out a tough road win against the Kentucky Christian University Knights. Berea left the court with a three point victory, 66-63.

The first quarter saw a slow start for both teams as the first three possessions of the game saw turnovers. The first basket went in favor of the Knights at the 7:55 mark. The next points were put on the board at the 5:14 mark as Zacchea Small's free throws tied the game at 2-2. Bri Lanham's free throws followed by a Kristen Barnes field goal pushed Berea ahead 6-4. Over the last 3:12 of the first quarter with the score tied 6-6, KCU ended the quarter on a 7-2 run to head into the second quarter with a 13-8 advantage.

Bethanie Williams, the third best three-point shooter in the USCAA at 47%, hit a three-point basket to bring the Mountaineers within two points of the lead. Berea tied the game at 13-13 but was unable to overtake the lead. Berea took a 21-17 lead off of two Williams baskets before an 10-3 run by the Knights put them ahead 27-24. Six straight points from a combination of Small and Dalilah Price gave the Mountaineers a 30-27 lead but Berea saw themselves head into the intermission trailing 34-33.

The teams exchanged baskets to open the third quarter before Jaime Roberts' three-point basket gave the Mountaineers a lead they would not give up, making the score 39-38. A three-point basket followed by a three-point play by Williams pushed Berea ahead by seven points, 45-38. KCU pulled back within one point of the lead until Kiley Barnard's field goal sparked a 9-3 scoring run, helping the team move to the final quarter leading 57-50.

The Knights scored six of the first eight points of the fourth quarter to cut the Mountaineers advantage to three before Small's field goal pushed the lead back out five, 61-56. The score became tied as KCU scored five straight points but Berea broke the tie as Barnes netted a three-pointer to push the team ahead 64-61. With 1:25 remaining in the game, the Knights hit a jump shot to cut the lead to one before Barnard went to the free throw, hitting two clutch free throws to give the Mountaineers a three point lead with 18 seconds remaining. Berea's defense stood strong as KCU missed a three-point shot as time expired and the Mounties earned the hard fought victory and their sixth straight win.

Williams finished with a game-high 18 points for the Mountaineers. Lanham finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds while tying for the team-high two assists with Small. Small added 11 points, five rebounds and two steals to her stat line as well. The team shot 16-19 from the charity stripe.

#2 Berea (12-5) returns to the court on Friday as they open the Berea College Classic against #6 Florida College. Tipoff is set for 1:00 PM. Live stats for the game can be found here. Follow live video of the action by clicking here