Lady Lions basketball wins 68-60 and 98-63 over Truett and Columbia
DAYTON, Tenn. – Another undefeated week is in the books for the Bryan College women’s basketball team as they downed Truett McConnell University (Ga.) 88-60 on Thursday and capped the week by wearing out another Appalachian Athletic Conference opponent, Columbia College (S.C.), at home on Saturday with a final score of 98-63. The convincing victory over the Koalas marked the sixth straight win for Bryan, as they now control the No. 1 spot in the AAC standings following Reinhardt University’s (Ga.) 62-60 loss at Milligan College (Tenn.).
The Lions are currently receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ top-25 poll and own an impressive overall mark of 15-5 and 12-2 conference record. The second-place team in the AAC is Tennessee Wesleyan University who sits at 12-3 in conference play. No. 24 Point University (Ga.) and Reinhardt are tied for third at 12-4.
For the second time this year, Deandra Luna has reached the 20-point mark as she tallied a team-high 20 points and seven assists versus Columbia. She shot 6-of-11 in the game, including 3-of-6 behind the arc and a spotless 5-of-5 at the foul line. Two other Lions turned in double-digit performances with Karli Combs collecting 16 points and Tristan McClellan dropping 14 points. As a team, the Lions outrebounded the Koalas 49-33 and were led by Tonesha Allison who grabbed a team-best 11 boards. Allison, Amber Levi, and Emmy Allen each finished with eight points apiece. Leann Scharberg provided quality minutes for Bryan as she corralled five rebounds and posted seven points. The duo of Keneisha Love and Marlee Sells had six points, respectively, and were trailed by Sarah Cain who had three points and Baylee Thomas who secured two points.
The only time in the contest when Bryan and Columbia were close was early in the first quarter. Despite the Lions jumping out to a 5-0 lead with a bucket from Allison and three-pointer by Combs, the Koalas battled back to tie 7-7 and go on to lead 9-7. A pair of free throws by Luna helped even the score 9-9, while Cain came away with a steal on the next possession and fed a pass to Love who capitalized under the goal to regain an advantage for Bryan. For the rest of the game, the Koalas wouldn’t be able to take back over the lead as the Lions closed out the first period on top 26-22.
Columbia managed to cut the deficit to two points as the second quarter got underway, but over the next four minutes Bryan would outscore the visitors 13-2 and build enough of a lead that it wouldn’t dip below double-digits through the last three quarters. At the midway point of the frame, the Lions led 39-26. With under two minutes before the break, Bryan rallied for another run as they scored seven unanswered points consisting of a three-pointer from Allen, an inside bucket from Allen, and two foul shots from McClellan. After one half of play, the Lions were ahead by 16 points, 51-35.
Two and a half minutes into the third quarter, Luna drove in the lane and dished it out to Levi who capitalized from downtown, giving the Lions their first 20-point difference of the game, 58-38. The margin proved too much for the Koalas to overcome as Bryan kept a 20-point distance at the end of the period, 74-54.
It took nearly two and a half minutes for two shots to be made at the start of the final quarter, and both were deep looks as Luna swished the first and Combs followed. The pain only worsened for Columbia as the Lions outscored the Koalas 24-9 in the fourth period, giving way to an overwhelming 35-point difference as Bryan ran away with a 98-63 victory.
The Lions hit the road this upcoming week for a pair of conference matchups with the first on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Bluefield College (Va.) at 5:30pm followed by a bout with St. Andrews University (N.C.) on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 12pm.