SHERMAN, Texas – After leading by as much as 13 in the first half, the Birmingham-Southern women’s basketball team lost to Austin College on the road today, 76-69, for the Panthers’ fifth straight loss. AC, who is leading the SCAC West Division, moves to 12-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play, while BSC drops to 7-8 overall and 2-5 in the league.
The Panthers led for most of the first half, going up by 13, 24-11, at the 9:37 mark for their largest lead of the game. The ‘Roos fought back, using a 15-3 run to cut the lead to one, 27-26, with 4:05 left in the half. BSC responded with seven straight points to go back up by eight, 34-26, with 2:10 left to play, but Austin put together a 10-2 run to tie things up, 36-36, with 48 seconds left in the half before finally taking over the lead for the first time on a pair of free throws by Amber Stafford with 18 seconds remaining, giving the ‘Roos a 38-36 lead at the half.
A three-pointer from BSC sophomore Sam Davidson was the first made basket of the second half, giving the Panthers back the lead, 39-38, but Austin pulled back ahead after that and would never trail again.
BSC stayed close on AC’s heels for the rest of the game, even tying things up, 61-61, at the 5:14 mark, but the ‘Roos, fueled in part by 71-percent shooting from three-point range, stayed in the lead. Austin’s largest lead of the game was seven points, achieved three times, including at the final buzzer with the 76-69 victory.
Stafford led the ‘Roos with 17 points, followed by Katy Williams with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Kersti Marusich with 14 points. Spenser Cruikshank led Austin with four assists and four blocks.
For BSC, freshman Alex Adams led with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, followed by freshman Melanie Short with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and sophomore Ashton Spurgin with 12 points. Short led with six rebounds, and junior Katelyn Wilson led with three assists.
The ‘Roos out-shot BSC in every category, going 24-of-50 (48 percent) from the field, 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) from three-point range, and 16-of-19 (84.2 percent) from the free throw line. The Panthers were 23-of-58 (39.7 percent) overall, 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) from beyond the arc, and 14-of-23 (60.9 percent) from the line.
AC also out-rebounded BSC, 36-32, but committed 13 turnovers to the Panthers’ season-low seven.
The Panthers return home next weekend for the first time since Dec. 13, taking on Hendrix College, Friday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m., and Millsaps College, Sunday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m., in Bill Battle Coliseum.