Panther women upend Hendrix, 89-86

Ashley Curry (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Ashley Curry (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

CONWAY, Ark.—Keyed by three Panthers scoring in double figures, the Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team defeated conference foe Hendrix, 89-86, Sunday afternoon at Grove Gymnasium in Conway, Ark.

The game set a new NCAA Division III record with 99 combined free throw attemps, and tied the record with 68 combined personal fouls.

The victory closes out the regular season for both clubs as BSC heads into the conference tournament 11-14 overall and 4-10 in the Southern Athletic Association. Hendrix wraps up the regular season at 12-13 overall and 7-7 in conference action.

Hendrix seized the momentum from the opening tip and led the whole first half with the exception of a 14-second stretch when a pair of free throws from senior Diamond Elston gave BSC a 9-8 lead with 15:15 left in the first half. Hendrix extended their lead to more than five points six more times in the first half, with BSC having an answer almost every time, cutting the lead to as little three with 1:17 left until the half when a layup from sophomore Jameice Holmes brought the score to 38-35. A layup and two free throws from Hendrix closed the opening half to give the home team a 42-35 advantage heading into the locker room.

The trend of Hendrix staying just one step ahead of BSC continued in the second half, as each time the Warriors gained a modest lead the Panthers responded to stay within striking distance. BSC tied the game up for the first time in the second half when a 7-0 run, ignited by a three-pointer from junior Ashley Curry and two baskets from Elston, tied the contest at 76 each with just under six minutes remaining on the clock.

BSC would weather four lead changes and two ties before taking the lead for good at 83-81 on a Curry layup with 2:27 remaining. The teams exchanged baskets and free throws until the final second of regulation when, with BSC leading 89-86, a three-point attempt from Hendrix missed the mark to preserve the win.

Curry led the Panthers with a team-high 19 points and five rebounds, while junior Halle Knowles contributed 11 points and Elston chipped in 10 off the bench.

Hendrix's Sara Dyslin led all players with 35 points and 19 rebounds.

The SAA Championship will begin Friday, Feb. 27, hosted by top-seeded Millsaps in Jackson, Miss. The Panthers will play as the eighth seed, facing Millsaps in the first round at 1 p.m. on Friday.