Friday May 27th, 2016 4:24AM

Piedmont women knock off Maryville on Senior Night

By staff reports
DEMOREST -- The Piedmont College women's basketball team had a very impressive night to send out their 2014 senior class knocking off the South Division leading Scots of Maryville College 58-54 in the Cave. <br /> <br /> By virtue of the victory over the visiting Scots, Piedmont also locks up a top three spot in the South Division and earns a trip to the USA South Championship Basketball Tournament next weekend.<br /> <br /> Offense was not the name of the game in the first half as the opening 12 minutes saw just a combined 16 points from the two teams who sat deadlocked at 8-8 with just over eight minutes to go until the break. With time winding down in the first, Maryville would take a seven point lead after an Alex Bond layup put the Scots in front 22-15 with 1:49 to go in the opening period.<br /> <br /> Piedmont would trail only by five after the opening 20 minutes with the first-half advantage going to Maryville who led 23-18 at the halftime break. Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the first half as Piedmont was just 20% from the field while Maryville failed to connect on a single three-pointer in the opening half.<br /> <br /> After the intermission, Piedmont would pick it up offensively connecting on 52% of their shots in the second half while hitting better than 66% of their tries from three-point distance. In a back-and-forth affair, the game tied for the 6th time when Chandler Alverson connected on a jumper to even up the score at 34 apiece.<br /> <br /> In a turning point, PC broke that tie the next time down the court as freshman Brianna Barrett connected on a three-point shot just in front of the Lady Lion bench who erupted after the tri-fecta from the youngster, her only field goal of the game which came in a timely manner. Despite taking the lead, Maryville's Jordan Ballard moments later put her team back in front when her layup made the score 44-43 in favor of the visitors with 5:39 to play. <br /> <br /> Not to be outdone on her senior night in the Cave, veteran Lauren Hamel completed perhaps the most spectacular sequence on the night with her team down one and under five to play. After her initial shot clattered off the rim, Hamel recovered the rebound and gracefully sidestepped a trio of Maryville defenders to lay the ball up and in putting Piedmont up 45-44 as the Lady Lions would not trail again on the night spurred on by their veteran star.<br /> <br /> Following up a Maryville free throw which tied the game at 45, Alverson hit another three-point bucket, one of three on the night for the sophomore, and put her team up three with four minutes remaining. From that point on, it was a free throw party for PC who picked up their final ten points of the game at the line with Maryville forced to foul down the stretch. <br /> <br /> The Lady Lions missed only two free throw attempts in the final five minutes to ice an impressive 58-54 victory over visiting Maryville who sat atop the South Division of the USA South standings at 12-2 in league play coming in to the night.<br /> <br /> Leading all scorers with her 18 points was Chandler Alverson who shot better than 50% hitting on six of her 11 field goal tries including three of her six efforts from distance as she continues to play well as of late. Alverson has now scored in double figures in seven of her last nine games out and was in contention for Player of the Week status in the USA South this past week.<br /> <br /> The senior being honored on the night, Lauren Hamel was next on the scoring list as she scored eight points hitting three field goals and going a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Hamel was also one of two Lady Lions with multiple assists on the night tallying two of the team's 11 and also added a steal to her stat line in the win over the conference rival.<br /> <br /> Taylor Swoszowski and Mary Kate Rushton each were next with their five points as the two were apart of a four-player group that topped the team in rebounds with four each, the remaining two being Gabby Arencibia and Julianne Bayer. Arencibia and Bayer each had sparkling moments on the night as well with one of Arencibia's boards resulting in a team-first assist as she dove out of bounds to save a ball and help the Lady Lions score off the play while Bayer put a pair of fancy spin moves down low on the Scots to lead to her pair of buckets on the night.<br /> <br /> With the win, Piedmont moves to 16-8 overall, the 6th time in the 9-year Jamie Purdy era that the Lady Lions have accumulated at least 16 wins in a season. The Lady Lions also clinch USA South tourney spot by moving to 10-5 in conference play two games clear of 3rd place LaGrange College in the win column and three clear of 4th place Huntingdon with only two games remaining for the Panthers and Hawks. The two play each other in what could be a winner-take-all situation on the final day of the season if Covenant defeats LaGrange the day before.<br /> <br /> The Lady Lions now will host Covenant College tomorrow night in both their regular season and USA South finale for 2013-14. The game is a make-up from the original contest between the two that was set for February 13th until Winter Storm Pax rolled through with snow and ice to force the postponement.<br /> <br /> Piedmont's home contest with Covenant on February 20th will tip off at 5:30 pm in the Cave. Live coverage will be provided courtesy of the Mane Event Broadcasting Network.
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