DEMOREST -- The Piedmont College women's basketball team saw their freshman post presence Carly Sales step up once again to provide a double-double effort in Piedmont's 80-70 victory over visiting North Carolina Wesleyan College in a USA South affair.
Leading by 11 at the half, Piedmont showed no tired legs in this second straight weekend of away-home play in conference action having traveled almost 700 miles for their win Friday night before returning home to grab today's ten point victory.
The first shot of the game was made by the Battling Bishops' Kenyata Harris as the Battling Bishops raced out to a 9 to 1 lead just under 3 minutes into the game. Despite trailing early, a three point bucket by Brianna Barrett had the Lady Lions chasing the lead by only a point with 13:25 to go in the first half. With the assist on that Barrett three, senior Lauren Hamel stayed involved as the Lady Lion hit a jumper just outside the paint to gain the lead for the first time in the game with just over 12 minutes left in the half.
The game turned chaotic during the middle of the half as the action switched between the two teams furiously with turnovers and miscues galore. With several frantic turnovers from both teams, the Lady Lions stole and ran with the momentum building a five point lead they picked up with 7:58 left in the half on a long-range three pointer by Gabby Arencibia.
Trying to catch back up before the break, the Battling Bishops went on a 7-0 run late, but it was not enough at the time as PC had built its cushion with the two teams heading into halftime with Piedmont leading 48-37. Continuing in her recent hot streak performance from Friday night in today's first half, Carly Sales went 6 for 11 from the bench scoring 14 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
Taylor Paige of NC Wesleyan scored first for the second half attempting to catch her team back up to the Lady Lions, but Symone Ball of Piedmont answered with a layup moments later to keep Piedmont in front comfortably. A scoreless couple of minutes finally broke with a successful chance at the line by Carly Sales and another made basket by Ball with just under 16 minutes left in the game, putting the Lady Lions ahead now by six, 57 to 43.
Pushing the Lady Lions down to a 7 point lead with 10:25 left in the game, North Carolina Wesleyan's Kourtney Salisbury successfully earned a layup on the Battling Bishops' offensive end continuing to push the issue. However, Sales refused to see her Lady Lion lead falter when she drained a two pointer with less than 9 minutes left in the half to once again answer the NC Wesleyan challenge.
The Lady Lions stayed in front down the stretch as well though the Battling Bishops lived up to the name of their mascot forcing the home team to fight for every point. However, as Brianna Barrett stepped to the free throw line with 48 seconds to play and a 4-point Piedmont lead, the game was still in doubt before she knocked down both late tries to push Piedmont up 75-69 under a minute to go.
The Battling Bishops could now only play the foul game hoping to have a chance with some Piedmont free throw misses, but the Lady Lions went seven for eight from the charity stripe in that final minute of play to keep the visitors at bay. When the buzzer rang, Piedmont went to the home locker room victorious with a 80-70 well-played USA South win to stay perfect in league play.
Topping Piedmont's scoring column for the second straight game was freshman Carly Sales, a local product from Habersham Central High School who has now scored 39 points in her last 60 minutes on the court in the green and gold. Sales' 13 boards also made it two years in a row that a Lady Lion has tallied a double-double on January 12th with Lauren Anderson doing so last season with her 17 points and 11 rebounds in a USA South contest against William Peace.
Sales's double-double is the first by a Lady Lion this season as she becomes just the third player to have done so in the last two seasons while her 22/13 is the best combination since former Conference Player of the Year Sada Wheeler tallied 26 and 19 in a game at Maryville three seasons ago.
Second on the scoring list was senior Lauren Hamel with her nine points while also leading the team with her four assists, tied with teammate Chandler Alverson's four helpers. Sales topped the rebounding list with her 13 to lead the team while Symone Ball was next with seven followed by two Lady Lions with five a piece, Le'Shaunda Jones and Mary Kate Rushton.
With the win, Piedmont stays perfect in conference play at 4-0 and gets their 10th win of the season in just their 13th game of the 2013-14 season. That's a complete turnaround from the 2012-13 campaign when PC started 0-4 in the league and finished 10-14 overall.
After their second straight weekend of away-home play in the USA South, PC now has some time to regroup but not much as they hit the road once more this coming weekend for their next action on the court. The Lady Lions will travel to North Carolina for a pair of contests as they go to Fayetteville for a Saturday matchup at Methodist University before facing Greensboro College on the way back Sunday. Tip off against the Monarchs of Methodist is set for 2 p.m.