USC Aiken survives Lady Braves scare 56-45
By Brad Crawford
Senior Staff Writer
Despite limiting USC Aiken to its second-lowest scoring total of the season, UNCP was unable to overcome 25 turnovers as the Lady Pacers defeated the Lady Braves basketball team 56-45 on Jan. 10 at the English E. Jones Center.
With the win, USC Aiken (12-5, 6-5 PBC) moves into the No. 8 slot in the NCAA South Atlantic Regional Poll, recently announced by conference officials on Jan. 30.
The Lady Pacers’ five conference losses puts them three games behind Francis Marion (14-2, 7-2 PBC No. 1) for the Peach Belt’s best record.
The loss was only UNCP’s third home setback in eight games this season, as both Peach Belt Conference wins have came on the Lady Braves’ home court.
Natalie Ray led the Black and Gold (7-10, 2-8 PBC) with nine points and six rebounds as the Lady Braves’ shot just 34 percent from the floor for the game. UNCP’s ineffectiveness on offense stemmed from 25 turnovers against the Lady Pacers.
They actually commited four more turnovers, 25, than total made field goals, 21.
“I thought that we competed hard and we played pretty well defensively. The bottom line is, we just have to score,” said UNCP head coach John Haskins.
“We have to figure out how to get the ball in the hole and we have got to quit turning it over. We just need a little bit more confidence on the offensive side of the ball. We can get there. We just have to keep working.”
The first half featured six ties and three lead changes, as the Lady Pacers and UNCP battled back and forth over the final eight minutes with USC Aiken owning a 25-20 lead at halftime.
The Black and Gold’s DeNeer Davis helped UNCP capture a brief lead with 8:13 remaining in the opening half.
The junior guard’s baseline jumper pushed the Lady Braves ahead 14-12.
Davis finished with seven points, including her first 3-pointer of her career with 16:05 left to play in the first half.
USC Aiken had three players score in double figures for the game, as the backcourt duo of Morgan Johnson and Megan Starnes combined for 25 points to ignite the Lady Pacers offensively.
UNCP’s next conference home game is against Armstrong Atlantic on Feb. 9. The Pirates defeated the Lady Braves 61-58 in their previous meeting on Jan. 5.