Panthers open SAA play with 74-70 home victory against Millsaps

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Led by sophomore newcomer Ashley Curry with 18 points, the Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team opened Southern Athletic Association play on Sunday afternoon with a 74-70 win over Millsaps in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers move to 3-2, while the Majors fall to 4-2.

The first half of play stayed close throughout, with four lead changes and three ties and neither team leading by more than six at any point. BSC held a 32-27 lead with 1:30 left in the half but Millsaps scored two unanswered baskets to cut the lead to 32-31 at the halftime break.

The Majors went on a tear to open the second half, scoring nine unanswered points to pull up 40-32 for the largest lead of the game by either team. The Panthers responded in kind, scoring eight straight points to tie it up 40-40, and the teams traded baskets after that and played to two more ties up to 46-46 with 12:17 remaining. BSC then pulled ahead for good, going up by as much as eight, twice, before the Majors used another small run to cut the lead to one, 67-66, with 59 seconds left to play. Curry sank two free throws to put BSC back up by three, but Millsaps responded with another basket to cut it back to 69-68 with 30 seconds left. The Majors sent Curry back to the line again, where she hit two more of her 10 free throws, putting the Panthers up by three yet again, and junior Kayla Ford went to the line twice in a row after that, making 1-of-2 both times to give the Panthers a 73-68 lead with eight seconds left. Millsaps was able to score a layup with two seconds on the clock to cut it to 73-70 and immediately called a timeout. The Majors fouled on the in-bounds pass to send freshman Laura van Peursem to the free throw line with one second left, where she was 1-of-2 putting BSC up by four for the win.

Curry led all players with her 18 points, hitting 3-3 from the field and 10-12 at the free throw line. Senior Elizabeth Bromirski added 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and led the team with five rebounds. Sophomore Kelsey Brown had 12 points and a game-high six assists, while Ford recorded 11 points.

Velvet Johnson led four Millsaps players in double figures with 16 points, and Kala Freeman had a double-double recording 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Sam Perez had 15 points and a team-high four assists.

The Majors shot slightly better than the Panthers from the field, hitting 25-53 (47.2 percent) to BSC's 20-46 (43.5 percent) performance. The Panthers were 10-19 (52.6 percent) from three-point range, though, while the Majors hit only 4-11 (36.4 percent). BSC went to the free throw line 31 times, hitting 24 of those for 77.4 percent, and Millsaps was 16-20 (80 percent) from the line.

Millsaps out-rebounded BSC 31-29 and turnovers were even at 19 apiece.

The Panthers are at home again this Tuesday, Dec. 3, hosting Agnes Scott College at 6 p.m.