Lady Bearcats Escape With 48-44 Win
By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
ROME, Ga. – Rust's Al'lisha Hudson hit a jumper with 31 seconds remaining as the Lady Bearcats narrowly escaped host Berry 48-44 in a Saturday afternoon women's basketball matchup at the Cage Center.
In what could be best described as an overall low-scoring, defensive struggle, the two teams walked to their respective locker rooms at halftime with Rust leading the Lady Vikings 27-18. Rust's first half offensive charge was led by Hudson, who had eight points, as well as Destini Shannon and Jessica Brown, both of whom had six points.
"We didn't come out focused," said Berry head coach Stephanie Dunn. "We were definitely not in an offensive rhythm at all."
The Lady Vikings went through a scoreless spurt of over seven minutes, including the last 4:56 of the first half, and soon found themselves trailing by 12 points early in the second half. But the home team was far from finished.
Energized by an 8-0 run, the Lady Vikings clawed back to within 31-27 after holding the visitors scoreless for nine minutes.
"We went with a zone defense," said Dunn of one of Lady Vikings' second half adjustments. "They're a team who really likes to penetrate as opposed to shooting the three. We used our matchup zone just to slow them down on the penetration, and it really had an effect on them."
Things got heated in the game's final minute as Rust was charged with two separate technical fouls, the first to Tremelanie McFadden and the second to head coach Ato Green. In less than 20 seconds, Rust's six-point lead was erased as Berry's Brittany Coughlan converted eight free throw attempts with only a bucket by McFadden in between, tying the score 44-44.
However, Hudson drained a jumper to unknot a tie game with 31 seconds remaining, and then Shannon knocked down two crucial foul shots with two seconds left to seal the victory.
The Lady Vikings were led on offense by Alexa Evans' 14 points and Coughlan's 13. Coughlan, who also tied teammate Pilar Smith for game high honors with nine rebounds, finished a perfect eight-for-eight from the charity stripe.
Rust had three players finish in double figures. Jessica Brown chipped in 14 points while Hudson tallied 13 and Shannon had 10.
The Lady Vikings return to action on Monday in Huntsville, Ala., when they face Oakwood University at 7 p.m.
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