Panther comeback falls short in SAA Women's Basketball quarterfinals

Kayla Ford (photo by Cari Dean)

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—After trailing by as much as 16 in the first half, the Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team mounted a second-half comeback to lead by four before falling to Berry, 76-70, Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Southern Athletic Association Championship, hosted by top-seeded Rhodes in Memphis, Tenn.

The fifth-seeded Panthers end their season with a 10-16 mark, while the fourth-seeded Vikings move to 14-12 and will face number one seed Rhodes tomorrow in the semifinals.

Berry scored the first basket of the game, a three-pointer by Mel McLean, and pulled out to an 11-2 lead by the 14:36 mark. Berry would lead by as much as 16, 24-8, at the 10:08 mark, and led 47-33 at the half.

The Panthers came out firing in the second half, using a 12-2 run to open the stanza and cut it to 49-45 in the first five minutes. A three-pointer from junior Kayla Ford tied things up for the first time, 53-53, with 11:21 left, and a three by senior Elizabeth Bromirski at the 9:51 mark gave the Panthers their first lead of the game, 58-57. BSC would lead by as much as four, 63-59 with 6:51 on the clock, but the Vikings scored 11 straight points after that to go back up, 70-63, with 3:29 left.

A three-pointer from sophomore Kelsey Brown cut the Berry lead to two, 72-70, with 55 seconds left in the game, prompting a Berry timeout, after which the Vikings made a layup to extend their lead back to four, 74-70, with 38 seconds on the clock. After a BSC missed shot and defensive rebound by the Vikings, the Panthers fouled to send Chanlir Segarra to the free throw line, where she missed both and Ford pulled down the rebounds for BSC with 15 seconds left in the game. But the Panthers turned the ball over with seven seconds remaining, and were forced to foul again. Segarra hit both free throws this time to extend the Berry lead to six, 76-70, and put the game out of reach with two seconds remaining.

Ford led four Panthers in double figures with 15 points, followed by Brown and Bromirski with 12 each and sophomore Jane Romano with 11. Bromirski led with nine rebounds, and Ford had four steals.

Five Vikings scored in double figures, led by Emma Cook with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Berry shot a season-high 52.3 percent from the field but also turned the ball over 21 times, 10 more than the Panthers with 11.