Amber Levi hits for 20 to lead Bryan
DAYTON, Tenn. – Over the weekend, the Bryan College Women’s Basketball added another convincing Appalachian Athletic Conference win to the list as they improved to 9-3 overall and 6-2 in AAC action after overwhelming Montreat College (N.C.) 77-38 at home. The loss marked the fourth consecutive defeat for the Cavaliers as the dropped their overall record to 3-7 and conference record to 2-5.
The Lions clawed their way to a 19-8 advantage in the first quarter, which set the tone for the following three periods. At the half, Bryan nearly grew their lead to 20 points as they entered the break out in front 37-18. Montreat was hoping to close the deficit but Bryan outscored the Cavaliers 31-8 in period number three to end all hopes en route to a 77-38 final.
Amber Levi led the Lions with her third highest scoring performance of the season, shooting 8-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc, registering her second straight game reaching the 20-point mark. She finished with 20 points, three rebounds, one assist, and a pair of steals. The only other Lion to reach double-digits was Karli Combs, who also got hot from outside by knocking in 5-of-7 three-point attempts and closed out the contest 6-of-9 for 17 points. Deandra Luna was quite in the scoring column but helped Bryan manage the floor, compiling a team-high six assists. Keneisha Love helped the Lions outrebound the Cavaliers 34-28 by corralling a team-best six boards.
Both Sarah Cain and Tristan McClellan trailed with seven points apiece, while Cain led all players with a trio of steals and McClellan chipped in three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Marlee Sells stole the show late in the third quarter with two three-pointers for six points. Tonesha Allison and Shayla Ludy tallied five points, respectively, while Allison scooped up five rebounds and Ludy produced four boards. Jacqueline Ellis had a lone bucket from three-point range, and two points were produced by Love, Leann Scharberg, and Emmy Allen.
As a team, Bryan shot 48.1 percent in the game and was 45.2 percent from the perimeter, while locking Montreat down on defense and forcing the Cavaliers into tough shots resulted in Montreat’s 29.6 percent average. The Cavaliers also struggled from deep with 25 percent and made just two of their seven foul shots.
Montreat knew they were in trouble when Luna found Allison under the basket for the first points of the contest, Combs came through with a made three-pointer, and Levi capitalized inside before the Cavaliers could answer. Bryan’s 7-0 lead soon grew to double-figures at 13-3 from a successful free throw by Allison with 4:31 on the clock. The last score of the opening quarter was at 1:53 by McClellan when she rose up behind the arc and swished the three-point look, providing the Lions with a 19-8 edge.
The second quarter had a similar start to the first quarter as Levi snagged an offensive rebound and added two second-chance points. Bryan got another stop on the next possession and Luna assisted Cain as she connected from downtown, giving the Lions a 24-8 lead. In the final three minutes and 15 seconds of the first half, Bryan silenced Montreat as the Lions powered their way to eight unanswered points that consisted of two three’s made by Levi and Combs and a last-second basket by Ludy.
The third quarter was where Bryan left Montreat in the dust, outscoring the Cavaliers by 21 points in the period. The Lions collectively showed impressive play as seven players from the team helped build onto the lead in the quarter. It began with Levi scoring a quick two-pointer, followed by Cain making a pair of foul shots. Levi dropped in a deep shot at 7:13, and Bryan went quite till 6:02 before Allison used a move in the paint to score. Levi trailed Allison with a three-pointer on the Lion’s next possession. The Cavaliers answered, but Combs would deal more damage as she hit back-to-back three’s. Another bucket by Combs but from mid-range at 2:30 helped the Lions see their first 30-point advantage. To close out the period Ludy scored inside, Sells hit two treys, and McClellan completed an and-one play to go on top 68-26.
A three-pointer by Ellis at the midway point of the fourth quarter pushed Bryan’s lead to 41 points, 74-33, which was their largest of the evening. With one minute to go, Baylee Thomas found Scharberg down low who scored the last basket of the game, helping the Lions seal the 77-38 victory.
With three straight wins, including a triumph over 18th-ranked Reinhardt University (Ga.), the Lions will try to collect another victory as they host a challenging NAIA Div. I opponent in 19th-ranked Southern States Athletic Conference foe Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) on Saturday, Dec. 16 with tipoff set for 3pm.