Strong second half lifts LeTourneau over BSC, 67-64

Melanie Short
Melanie Short

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team lost at home to LeTourneau University, 67-64, Saturday afternoon in Bill Battle Coliseum in the final game of the 2011 Sheraton Birmingham Classic.

The Panthers fall to 2-1 with their first loss of the year.

The Panthers led for the entire first half of the game, going up by as much as 10, three times, before leading 30-24 at the half.

The Yellow Jackets achieved their first lead of the game six minutes into the second half, going up 38-37, but BSC scored five straight points to go back up by four with 11:45 left in the game.

LeTourneau took the lead again at the 10:39 mark, 44-42, and went up by four, twice, before BSC took the lead back again with six minutes left, 54-53, and used a seven-point run to go back up by six, 61-55, with 3:58 left in the game.

The Yellow Jackets proceeded to score six straight points to tie it up by the 2:11 mark, 61-61, then went up by two on two made free throws. The Panthers tied it back up with two free throws of their own, but LeTourneau answered with a jumper with 1:10 remaining to go back up by two, 65-63. BSC went 1-1 on its next trip to the free throw line with 40 seconds left, and the Yellow Jackets made two free throws with nine seconds left to go up by three. BSC missed a shot at the buzzer, and LeTourneau came away with the win.

Jessica Manas scored 19 points for LeTourneau, followed by La'Queda Davis with 14 and Sharday Cotton with 11. Cotton also led all players with 10 rebounds and five steals. Manas and Cotton were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Junior Melanie Short led BSC with 18 points and was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Three other Panthers - senior Ashton Spurgin and juniors Alex Adams and Erin Moore - scored 10 points each, and Adams led on the boards with eight caroms. Moore also had three steals.

LeTourneau out-shot BSC in every category, going 26-of-48 (54.2 percent) from the field to BSC's 20-of-51 (39.2 percent) showing, 6-of-12 (50 percent) to BSC's 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) performance from three-point range, and 9-of-9 (100 percent) to BSC's 20-of-27 (74.1 percent) showing at the free throw line.

The Panthers out-rebounded the Yellow Jackets, 31-26, and committed three fewer turnovers than LeTourneau with 18.

Also named to the All-Tournament Team were Judson's Shekinah Lewis and Sewanee's Heather Baier.

BSC is on the road for its next three games, beginning with a trip to Rome, Ga., to face Berry College on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. The Panthers do not return home until Dec. 11 when they face New Orleans at 2 p.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum.