Combs Collects 28 Points In Lady Lion’s Fourth Straight Win
DAYTON, Tenn. – At halftime of the Appalachian Athletic Conference women’s basketball game between Allen University (S.C.) and Bryan College on Saturday, the Yellow Jackets had collectively tallied 26 points, while the Lion’s leading scorer this season, Karli Combs a freshman guard from Rutledge, Tenn., caught fire behind the arc connecting on 7-of-10 and individually recorded 26 first-half points in helping Bryan to a comfortable 19-point cushion at the break, 45-26. Despite Allen managing 20 points in quarter number three, Bryan posted 23 in the frame and went on to outscore the Yellow Jackets 19-10 in the last quarter to seal a convincing 87-56 victory.
The win marked the fourth straight triumph for the Lions, improving to 13-5 overall and 10-2 in AAC play. The Yellow Jackets remain at the middle of the pack in the conference as their overall record fell to 11-6 and conference record moved to 8-5. Bryan managed to go 3-0 in conference play last week, giving way to receiving votes in the latest NAIA Div. II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top-25 Poll that was released on Jan. 9. With Point University (Ga.) and Tennessee Wesleyan now at 10-3 in the conference, the Lions are locked in at No. 2 in the AAC standings only behind Reinhardt University (Ga.) who is also receiving votes and owns a 12-2 record against conference opponents and 16-5 overall mark.
Combs finished with 28 points, two rebounds, and a pair of steals to lead the team offensively. She was 9-of-13 in the game and went a perfect 3-of-3 at the foul line. Trailing Combs was Amber Levi who produced her second career double-double with 11 points and team-high 10 boards. Most of her damage was done at the charity stripe as she capitalized on 7-of-8 free throws. The only other Lion to see double-digit figures in scoring was Tristan McClellan who netted 10 while leading all players with seven assists. The duo of Deandra Luna and Keneisha Love each saw seven points apiece, while both Tonesha Allison and Sarah Cain matched each other with six points. Emmy Allen, Shayla Ludy, and Baylee Thomas chipped in three points, respectively. To round out the scoring, Trinity Fisher scooped in two points, and Marlee Sells had a lone made foul shot.
As a team, Bryan shot 34.8 percent narrowly besting Allen’s 33.8 percent. From three-point range, the Lions impressed making 42.3 percent (11-of-26) compared to the Yellow Jackets who struggled going 3-of-20 (15 percent). At the foul line, the home team made the most of their opportunity as they cashed in 28 of their 41 total attempts. Of Allen’s 14 attempts, only five were drained. On the rebounds, Bryan got the edge 52-37 including a 16-8 advantage on the offensive end.
Allen was the first to score in the opening period, but they made the fatal mistake of allowing Combs an open look from deep that resulted in Bryan overtaking the lead 3-2. All Combs needed was to see one shot from outside drop in as she swished another at 4:39 to put the Lions on top 12-8. One minute passed before the Yellow Jackets scored, but it would be the last make for them until 19 seconds were left as they set back and watched the Combs’ show unfold. Three back-to-back scores for the Lions came from the hands of Combs as she rained down a trio of treys. After building Bryan’s lead to 21-10, she took a quick break and let Cain and McClellan serve up daggers from downtown. Combs followed McClellan’s make with one last three-pointer of the first quarter. In the final four minutes, the Lions outscored the Yellow Jackets 18-2 with the help of six made three’s for a 30-12 lead.
At the three and a half minute mark of the second quarter, Allen had battled to cut the deficit to 10 points but the tenacity displayed by Bryan wouldn’t allow the margin to drop to single-digits for the duration of the period. The next score for the Lions was a three-point play from Combs. In order to prevent another open three-pointer to Combs, the Yellow Jackets fouled her on the shot where she went to the foul line and made all three free throws. To end the first half, Love made a foul shot, McClellan hit two free throws, and Combs came through with another splash from outside to provide the Lions with a 45-26 lead.
Bryan slowed their pace to begin the third quarter, and Allen tried to take advantage as they slimmed the gap to nine points at 7:38, which would be the last time of the outing that the Yellow Jackets would come within single-digits of the Lions. Over the next two and a half minutes, Bryan rallied for a 10-0 run, nearly seeing their first 20-point difference at 57-38. With just under four minutes left in the period, Amber made a pair of free throws for the 20-point pad. The Lions would go on to lead 67-46 as the last quarter approached.
Midway through the fourth frame, Bryan had allowed Allen only two points while tacking on 12 points to their lead for a 31-point separation at 79-48. The Yellow Jackets eventually began to add to their score, but so did the Lions as they closed out the contest ahead 86-56.
Currently, Bryan has the highest scoring offense in the AAC, averaging 76.8 points per game, and has the best scoring margin at an average of 14.4 points per game.
The Lions will look to add another 3-0 week to their repertoire as they travel to Tennessee Wesleyan University on Tuesday at 5:30pm, host Truett McConnell University (Ga.) on Thursday at 5:30pm, and host Columbia College (S.C.) on Saturday at 2pm.