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Panthers win 58-57 thriller at home against Rhodes

Kayla Ford (photo by Ben Breland)
Kayla Ford (photo by Ben Breland)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Led by senior Kayla Ford with 17 points, the Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team won a thriller at home Friday evening, defeating Rhodes 58-57 in Bill Battle Coliseum for the Panthers' first conference win of the season.

BSC moved to 8-10 overall and 1-6 in the Southern Athletic Association, while the Lynx fell to 13-5 overall and 4-3 in the SAA.

The Panthers led 5-2 early in the game before the Lynx used an 11-0 run to pull ahead 13-5 by the 10:35 mark, and then out-scored BSC 7-2 after that to achieve their largest lead of the game, 20-7 with 8:00 left in the first half. The Panthers took over after that, though, ending the half on a 14-2 run to trail 22-21.

Less than three minutes into the second half, sophomore Jothani Dixon gave BSC its first lead since early in the first half when she hit a three-pointer to put the Panthers up 27-26. Rhodes pulled back ahead, though, and kept a small lead until BSC tied it up 44-44 with 7:27 left in the game. About a minute later, another Dixon three-pointer put the Panthers up 49-46 for the largest lead of the game thus far. The Lynx fought back to re-take the lead, 53-52, with 1:50 left, but Ford hit a three-pointer to put BSC back up 55-53. Sarah Johnson stepped to the free throw line a minute after that, hitting both to knot the game at 55-55 with 46 seconds left. The Lynx sent senior Alexis Adams to the free throw line with 34 seconds on the clock, where she hit one of two to put BSC up by one, and Rhodes pulled back ahead 57-56 with nine seconds left on a layup by Erin Deery. With the final seconds ticking down, BSC junior Ashley Curry drove to the basket and was fouled with three seconds remaining. She nailed both of her free throws to put the Panthers up 58-57, and the Lynx missed a last-second shot to clinch the win for BSC.

Ford led the Panthers with 17 points, while Curry added 11 points and a game-high four assists, and sophomore Laura Van Peursem led on the boards with 10 rebounds.

Rhodes' Symone Daniels led all players with 22 points, going 9-16 from the field.

Both teams struggled with turnovers, with BSC committing 21, two more than Rhodes. The Panthers held the advantage in rebounding, though, 37-31.

BSC is at home again this Sunday, hosting Hendrix at 1 p.m.