Sunday May 29th, 2016 7:31AM

Piedmont women win fifth straight

By staff reports
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- The Piedmont College women's basketball team have found their groove during their second season in USA South play having won their fifth straight decision, in conference and overall, earlier today with a 73-54 win over league member Methodist University. <br /> <br /> In the first of two games in the Tar Heel State for Piedmont, the Lady Lions were up to the task leading for all but 51 seconds in this afternoon's 19-point victory over the Monarchs as PC picks up its 11th win of the season.<br /> <br /> Despite being the home team, Methodist was held scoreless by visiting Piedmont for nearly the first six minutes of the contest as PC went on a 10-0 run to begin the game with four different Lady Lions scoring in that starting stretch. Leading 15-4 midway through the first half, Piedmont had already assumed control of the road contest early over a Methodist team who entered the day 8-2 overall and 4-1 in league play with its only USA South loss coming at the hands of conference foe Maryville College.<br /> <br /> However, a scoreless four-minute Piedmont stretch during a 11-0 run from the home team cut the comfortable Lady Lion advantage down to an uneasy two points at 19-17 with just over six minutes to go in the half. Five straight Symone Ball points helped stem the tide a bit pushing Piedmont back up by seven before Le'Shaunda Jones made it nine with her layup at the 4:36 mark. <br /> <br /> Jones would go on to score all but two of Piedmont's points in the remainder of the half at the visitors jogged to the locker room with an eight-point lead, 34-26 after having lead by as much as 13 during the opening period.<br /> <br /> In the second half, Carly Sales of Piedmont pushed the lead back up to ten with her first field goal of the half only to see Methodist close to within four at 36-32 with barely two minutes gone in the half. As the Monarchs kept the margin to single digits for the next seven minutes, a bucket from the Piedmont senior, Lauren Hamel helped keep Methodist at bay as her jumper at the midway point put her team up eight, 46-38. Teammate Le'Shaunda Jones put the team up ten moments later when she connected from the field.<br /> <br /> Up 50-40, Lady Lion Gabby Arencibia then connected on a try from beyond the three-point arc to put her team ahead by 13 now with just 7:32 remaining. The Monarchs tried to keep pace with visiting PC and stay in the game with time winding down, but Piedmont was able to match the home team basket for basket holding a 63-50 lead after a pair of Lauren Hamel free throws with just under three to play.<br /> <br /> Piedmont went on to score ten more points in the contest hitting all but two free throws in the closing minutes while allowing just one more field goal to the Monarchs, a three-pointer with 22 seconds remaining that made the final margin 19 points, 73-54, as the Lady Lions claimed the conference win on the road. That three with time ticking away was the only three-point bucket for Methodist on the afternoon as Piedmont held the Monarchs to less than a 28% shooting percentage as a team, continuing the Lady Lions' top five trend in the USA South in field goal percentage defense.<br /> <br /> A trio of Lady Lions scored in double-figures for Head Coach Jamie Purdy with that three-member crew led by Le'Shaunda Jones' 13-point performance as the youngster hit on six of her seven tries from the field to post an incredible 85.7% shooting percentage. Jones led the team in scoring for the first time today though her performance marked the fifth straight time that a freshman or sophomore has led the Lady Lions in the scoring column. <br /> <br /> Carly Sales continued to score in double figures for the Lady Lions doing so with 11 points today on better than 57% shooting from the field coming up just two rebounds shy of another double-double. Currently the USA South Rookie of the Week in women's basketball, Sales' eight boards did lead the team in that category as she has now led the team in rebounding two straight games.<br /> <br /> Second on the rebounding list was senior Lauren Hamel who continues to do whatever is needed for a win as she pulled down seven boards and scored nine points including several key jumpers in the second half to extend the Piedmont lead. The third Lady Lion to score in double figures was sophomore Taylor Swoszowski who tallied ten points and came close to a rare double-double when producing seven steals to lead the team in that column as Piedmont forced 28 turnovers as a team in the 19-point road win.<br /> <br /> While the win moves the Lady Lions to 11-3 overall, the victory more impressively keeps Piedmont perfect in league play at 5-0, one of just two teams in the USA South to have a perfect record in conference. All five of PC's wins on its current winning streak have come in league play by an average margin of victory of exactly 17 points as none of those wins has come by less than double digits.<br /> <br /> The ladies from Demorest must now quickly turn their attention to the Pride of Greensboro College who host the Lady Lions tomorrow afternoon in the second of Piedmont's two-game road trip through the Carolinas. That January 19th contest is set to tip off at 1:00 pm.
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