Women’s Basketball Pounds Bulldogs In Second Half For AAC Victory
Barbourville, Ky. – The Bryan College women’s basketball picked up another Appalachian Athletic Conference victory on the road Thursday with the help of a second-half surge led by the trio of Amber Levi, Deandra Luna, and Shayla Ludy. The three Lions netted 33 of their team’s 67 total points behind the arc as Levi finished with a team-best 25 points while Luna and Ludy registered 12 points apiece. Levi connected on 5-of-10 from deep, Luna went 4-of-6, and Ludy drained a pair of treys en route to a 67-58 final to move Bryan’s overall record to 11-5 and AAC record to 8-2. The loss caused Union College (Ky.) to fall to 7-8 overall and 4-6 in the conference. The Lions are currently tied with (RV) Tennessee Wesleyan University, (RV) Reinhardt University (Ga.), and No. 25 Point University (Ga.) for the best record in AAC play.
Union controlled a 32-28 lead at halftime, but Bryan turned up the heat the latter periods, outscoring the Bulldogs 21-12 in the third quarter to regain an advantage at the end of the frame and never looked back as they created even more separation in the fourth quarter. Bryan struggled early as they went 11-of-41 in the first half, including a 4-of-14 showing from three-point land, but the Lions remained poised and posed major issues to Union with a 42.4 shooting percentage in the second half and an impressive 53.3 percent average from outside.
Collectively, the Bulldogs narrowly outshot the Lions 35.7 percent to their 33.8 percent and outrebounded Bryan 33-24, but the Lions gained an edge from the three-point line by hitting 41.4 percent compared to their 31.6 percent. As Bryan adjusted to Union’s play, the Bulldogs found trouble matching their earlier success in the game as the Lions forced the home team into 21 total turnovers, while Bryan had just 12.
Other contributors to Bryan included another stellar game for Keneisha Love as she led all players on the boards with 13 and also chipped in eight points. Tonesha Allison and Karli Combs trailed with three points, respectively, with Allison also recording six rebounds and Combs handing out four assists. The Lion’s assists leader was Tristan McClellan who dished out five. McClellan and Sarah Cain matched each other with two points apiece.
A second-chance bucket by Love following an offensive rebound snagged by Luna put Bryan on top 6-5 midway through a very slow opening quarter. Over two minutes expired on the clock before Union took control of the lead thanks to a 7-0 run. The rally was good enough to help the Bulldogs to a 17-11 lead entering the second period.
On Union’s first possession of the second quarter, they rose up from downtown and added another three points to their advantage. Levi answered back with a pair of made foul shots and Love nailed the mid-range look following Emmy Allen’s steal to help cut the deficit to five points at 20-15. The Bulldogs managed to slow the Lion’s run and counter six straight points for their largest lead of the game with 5:57 left before halftime. Bryan looked to Levi who came through with back-to-back three-pointers, and Combs took her turn with a nothing-but-net attempt from behind the arc. At 2:48, Levi capped the rally by capitalizing on the second-chance opportunity in the paint to level the score 26-26. As the game got close, Union tacked on a three-pointer with one minute remaining for a 32-28 first-half lead.
Despite the Lions knocking on the Bulldogs door in search of turning the corner and leaving Union behind, the home side protected their slim advantage until the four and a half minute mark. The Bulldogs led 41-35, but in what was left of the third quarter the Lions allowed Union only three points, which all came at the free throw line. In the meantime, Bryan battled for 14 points and a 49-44 edge heading into the final quarter.
The Lions sent the Bulldogs to the pound in the fourth period as they kept the lead and eventually grew it to double-figures at 3:18 when Luna sank a three-pointer to make the score 62-52. A bucket down low by Ludy on their next possession and then again at 2:23 when Levi sailed in another three-ball provided Bryan with their largest lead of the game, which was 12 points. Union scored the last three points but it wouldn’t matter as the Lions triumphed 67-58.
Following their stretch of road games, Bryan returns home this weekend as they play host to conference foe Brenau University (Ga.) on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 2pm.