Season high performance by Levi fuels upset by Lady Lions
DAYTON, Tenn. – A season-high performance from Amber Levi and a second-half surge from the Lions helped the Bryan College women’s basketball team pull off the come-from-behind upset of No. 18 Reinhardt University (Ga.) in their Appalachian Athletic Conference meeting Wednesday night in Summers Gymnasium, 73-68.
The Eagles soared away through the first two quarters, claiming a 34-27 lead at the break. The Lions clawed their way to 19-14 showing in quarter number three before closing out the last period 27-20 to seal the victory and improve to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in AAC play. The loss ended Reinhardt’s four-game winning streak and marked just their second loss of the season as they dropped their overall record to 8-2 and conference record to 5-2.
As the first quarter got underway, the three-pointers began to fall as Sarah Cain sparked the movement with the first trey of the game, putting the Lions in front 3-0. The Eagles responded over the next five minutes, scoring all 12 of their points from downtown. Fortunately for Bryan, Levi helped answer with a pair of makes from outside to cut the deficit to three points, 12-9. Finally, the Eagles took a break from the perimeter and capitalized inside with back-to-back buckets. The Lions decided to utilize their players down low, which gave way to five unanswered points and made it a two-point difference with four minutes to go. Over the next three and a half minutes, neither side could make a move until Reinhardt broke the silence by hitting a three-pointer with 1:25 on the clock. Levi and Cain would go ahead and score for Bryan, ending the first quarter behind 21-18.
The Lions struggled in the second period as the Eagles managed to build onto their lead. Deandra Luna pulled up from behind the arc and sunk a three-pointer midway through the frame to close the gap to two points, 25-23, and then answered again after driving the lane and finishing the layup to keep it a two-point difference at 27-25. Reinhardt ended the first half on a strong note, rallying for a 7-0 run before Shayla Ludy took a pass from Keneisha Love and hit the jumper, bringing the halftime score to 34-27.
The third quarter was the first positive period for Bryan as they slimmed the margin. Levi scored the first six points of the quarter as she rained down a three-pointer and completed the successful and-one play, drawing within one of Reinhardt, 34-33. Two made bonus free throws by Luna at 5:27 allowed the Lions their first glimpse of the lead since the first minute of play in the game. The Eagles were able to regain the lead but a pair of free throws by Tristan McClellan made it a one-possession game at the end of the quarter, 48-46.
It took nearly two minutes before either team could score in the final frame, but Levi came through at 8:18 after drawing the foul. She went to the line and made both foul shots, evening the score 48-48. The Eagles and Lions would be leveled at 52’s and 54’s before Bryan tallied six straight points to get a 60-54 edge and wouldn’t give up the lead for the rest of the game. Reinhardt wouldn’t allow Bryan out of their sight but Levi helped the Lions gain their largest lead of the evening when she dropped in a made shot from the perimeter, putting Bryan out in front 67-60 with 1:35 left to play. The Eagles gave the Lions a scare when they cut the deficit to one point at 68-67 with 45 seconds to go, but Bryan would end the game at the foul line as Levi tacked on two made foul shots and Ludy chipped in three, helping the Lions to a 73-68 final.
Levi netted a season-best as she finished 8-of-13 in the game, including 4-of-8 from three-point territory and a perfect 9-of-9 at the free throw line as she totaled 29 points. The only other Lion to see double-figures was Ludy who cashed in four of her nine looks and made 4-of-6 in foul shots for 12 points. Luna followed with a notable seven points and team-high six assists. Both Karli Combs and Keneisha Love added six points apiece, while Love led all players with six rebounds. Cain trailed with five points, McClellan helped with four points, and two points were registered by Tonesha Allison and Leann Scharberg, respectively.
Collectively, Bryan shot 47.9 percent from the floor compared to Reinhardt’s 37.5 percent and edged out the Eagles from outside 35.3 percent compared to their 34.6 percent. The Lions took advantage of their constant trips to the foul line, making 21-of-25, while the Eagles amassed 14 free throws and made 11 of them. The battle on the boards also went to Bryan as the outrebounded Reinhardt 32-29.
Up next for the Lions, they continue their busy month of play at home as they host AAC foe Montreat College (N.C.) on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2pm.