Bryan Women’s record fall to 9-5 after loss
DAYTON, Tenn. – The Life University Running Eagles (Ga.) narrowly edged past the Bryan College Women’s Basketball in the opening period 22-21 before sprinting away for a game-changing second quarter where they outscored the Lions 25-9 for a comfortable 47-30 lead at the break. Despite Bryan making a desperate attempt at a comeback by clawing their way to a 26-15 third quarter and topping Life in the final frame, the Running Eagles managed to hold on for the 77-72 victory, improving to 7-5 while the Lions fell to 9-5.
Four Lions posted double-digit points and were led by Karli Combs who tallied 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Deandra Luna followed with a double-double performance, registering 16 points and dishing out a team-high 10 assists. She also corralled a team-best seven rebounds. Amber Levi totaled 17 points after shooting 7-of-19, and Shayla Ludy saw 11 points fall in from a 4-of-10 outing. Bryan’s steals leader was Tonesha Allison with three, while she also added six points and six boards. The only other points recorded by the Lions were two points chipped in by both Sarah Cain and Keneisha Love.
Bryan had a slow start, only connecting on 35.7 percent of their shots in the first half compared to Life’s impressive 55.3 percent. The Lions were able to slow down the Running Eagles to 33.3 percent in the latter half but could only grow their average to 36.1 percent. Bryan has a reputation to deal damage from behind the arc but struggled at making just 25.7 percent from the perimeter, while Life saw 40.9 percent of their attempts from three-point range fall through the net. Another factor that contributed to the Running Eagle’s win were their 46 total rebounds, allowing the Lions to gather only 27.
Life snagged an early lead with the first basket of the game and would regain the lead at 6-5, but Combs drained one of her three three-pointers in the first quarter at 7:49 to help the Lions get an advantage that would be theirs until the final seconds of the period. The Running Eagles leveled the score 8-8 and did again at 13-13. Combs responded with her other pair of treys coming in back-to-back fashion as she extended Bryan’s lead to six points, 19-13. Two successful fouls shots by Luna helped the Lions keep a six-point edge until Life rallied for a 7-0 run to close out quarter number one in front 22-21.
Combs was the first Bryan player to answer in the second quarter when she took a pass from Luna and pulled up from downtown to tack on three points. The next three points were produced by Levi in the fifth minute when she made a free throw and scored underneath on the following possession. The only other points collected by the Lions were at the four-minute mark when Luna made the front side of two foul shots and Combs nailed the mid-range jumper just before the clock expired. While Bryan built on nine points in the period, Life battled for 25 points en route to a 17-point advantage at halftime, 47-30.
After the break, the Lions went on the attack as the third quarter unfolded, sparked by a score from Combs at 8:51. The 9-0 run ended with Levi driving the lane and finishing at the rim, drawing Bryan within eight points of Life at 47-39. The Running Eagles grew the margin back to double-digits and held the large lead until the two-minute mark following 14 straight points piled on by the Lions. Bryan silenced Life for three and a half minutes, making it a one-possession game 56-53. The Running Eagles hit a three-pointer but Luna came down the opposite end of the court and countered with her own trey. In the final minute, Life was the only one to score and did so behind the arc to carry a 62-56 lead heading into the last quarter.
Two swishes by Allison at the foul line to begin the fourth frame, a knock down by Ludy from three-point range, and a bucket in the paint by Allison gave the Lions hope as they dropped the difference to one point at 64-63. At 5:16, Combs penetrated and kicked the ball out to Ludy who sailed in another three-pointer to provide Bryan their first lead of the game since the opening period, 70-69. Unfortunately, Life allowed the Lions just a glimpse at the lead when the Running Eagles gave up just two more points to the home team and paced their way to a 77-72 final.
Bryan’s 2017 play is over and will return in the new year with a visit to Milligan College (Tenn.) on Jan. 2 at 5:30pm as they get back into Appalachian Athletic Conference action.