Thursday February 11th, 2016 12:15PM

Lady Lions complete season sweep of BSC

By staff reports
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA -- The Piedmont College women's basketball team completed a two-game season sweep of Southern Athletic Association power Birmingham Southern College Saturday earning an 87-70 win on the road. <br /> <br /> After a sluggish start on the road that put PC down 11 early, Piedmont rallied back with a fury to overtake the hosting Panthers by 17 In the rematch of a November 23rd contest in the Cave which Piedmont also won, 63-59. <br /> <br /> Birmingham Southern used a home crowd this time around to jump out to a quick 7-1 lead over the first few minutes of this afternoon's contest with Piedmont's only point in that stretch coming off a Lauren Hamel free throw. Hamel scored three of Piedmont's first five points by knocking down tries from the charity stripe as the Lady Lions struggled from the field early starting 1-of-6 as a team to see BSC open a 16-5 lead six minutes into the first half.<br /> <br /> Seven straight Piedmont points in less than two minutes cut the home team lead from a double-digit margin to just four points at 16-12 nearing the midway point of the first half. The 7-0 run was sparked by better shot selection from PC as they hit four-of-six shots after that one-of-six start from the field in the opening minutes.<br /> <br /> With 9:02 remaining in the first, PC cut the lead down to just one point when Erin Clifford connected on a try from three-point land to make the score 18-17 with BSC still on top. The two traded buckets with Piedmont staying in striking distance over the next few minutes until Piedmont saw back-to-back buckets, a layup from Brianna Barrett and a jumper from Lauren Hamel. finally pull them even for the first time since the opening tip, 23-23 with just over five to play until halftime.<br /> <br /> Staying close with time winding down in the first and PC trailing 32-28, the Lady Lions rattled off six straight points capped by a Chandler Alverson layup to take their first lead of the day at 34-32 with 1:53 to go until halftime. Scoring six of the final seven points in the half, Piedmont had overcome its slow start to take a 40-33 lead into the locker room at the break.<br /> <br /> Piedmont's first half saw the Lady Lions shoot 57% hitting on 17 of 30 shots from the field compared to a 12-of-34 (35%) showing by BSC. Downtown made the difference in the game as Piedmont was shooting an even 50% at half (3-of-6) compared to the home team who mustered just 18% (2-of-11) from downtown.<br /> <br /> The Lady Lions continued to shoot well to start the second half hitting on three of their first six tries from the field to fend off a BSC rally holding a 49-42 lead at the 15:26 mark. Steals sparked early second half success by PC with Piedmont forcing three turnovers in the first four minutes by the home team. <br /> <br /> The lead by the visitors stayed in the single digits for the next few minutes until back-to-back layups from Taylor Swoszowski and Symone Ball pushed the Lady Lion lead up to 13 at 59-46 with 12:26 to go. PC then went on an 11-4 run over the next three minutes to seal the decision going up by 20 when Gabby Arencibia's three-point bucket put the score at 70-50 in favor of the visitors and forced a Panther timeout. <br /> <br /> For Arencibia, the tri-fecta was her second of the day and sixth for the team who continued to shoot the lights out through that point hitting better than 56% though the squad struggled to connect from only one spot, shooting just 47% from the free throw line. However, it was not an issue for the Lady Lions who saw their lead dip below 20 just four more times on the afternoon as PC continued to push the tempo offensively.<br /> <br /> With just under five minutes to go, Symone Ball's jumper made the Lady Lion lead 24 at 84-60 as Piedmont looked to hand the Panthers their first loss in the last three games after BSC had won two straight including a victory over Millsaps in their conference opener. PC allowed only ten points to the Panthers down the stretch overwhelming BSC 87-70 for the victory away from home.<br /> <br /> Four Lady Lions scored in double figures on the day which featured a well balanced offensive attack as 11 of 14 who saw action for the visitors scored for PC en route to the 17-point win. Piedmont's points leader on the day was Lauren Hamel who led her team in scoring for the second time in the last four games with her 14 points on four of seven shooting as she was six of eight from the free throw line as well.<br /> <br /> Also scoring in double digits was Symone Ball with 13, Gabby Arencibia with a dozen, and Mary Kate Rushton who also scored 12 on the afternoon. Arencibia shot five of 13 from the field adding a trio of assists and a block to her stat line as well. Rushton shot 50% from the field and from beyond the three-point line as she also tied for the team lead in rebounding with six along with freshman Brianna Barrett who also led the team with her five assists. Ball's 13 points came on six of 11 shooting hitting on her only three-point try while adding two assists and four boards to the effort.<br /> <br /> Leading the Lady Lions in steals with her five was Taylor Swoszowski as her defensive effort keyed a Piedmont team effort that forced 30-plus turnovers by the opponent for the second straight game and third time in 2013-14. Having the all-around effort was Chandler Alverson who scored the bucket that put Piedmont ahead for good with just under two minutes to go in the first half helping PC overcome an 11-point deficit from the early going. Alverson also had three rebounds, four assists, and three steals to go with her 50% shooting from the field.<br /> <br /> With the win, Piedmont moves to 6-2 on the year to post their second-best eight game start in the last six seasons. The only Lady Lion team to post a better winning percentage through eight games was the 2011-12 squad who started off 8-0 on the way to a 12-game winning streak to begin the season.<br /> <br /> PC will now take a 17-day break from competition before returning to the court on December 31st for a New Year's Eve test that will challenge the Lady Lions as Emory University comes to Demorest for a 2:00 pm tip off. The Eagles are currently 7-0, ranked #11 in the nation in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and come into the 2013-14 season fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2013 NCAA National Tournament.
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