Panther women hang on to defeat Centre, 62-56

Jasmynn Batts (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Jasmynn Batts (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A strong second-half effort and three players scoring in double figures was the winning formula for the Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team as the Panthers defeated Centre, 62-56, Friday evening in Bill Battle Coliseum.

With the conference victory the Panthers improve to 10-12 for the season and 3-8 in the Southern Athletic Association. Centre is now 8-13 overall and 4-7 in league play.

Centre came out firing and quickly claimed a five-point advantage at 7-2 with 16:55 left in the first half. The lead would be the largest of the night for Centre as the visitors saw that lead evaporate at the 14:57 mark when junior Ashley Curry hit a three-pointer to give BSC its first lead of the night at 10-9. The Panthers kept the momentum going and expanded their lead to four at 17-13 with another three from Curry at the 11:37 mark of the first half. The remainder of the first half was exciting as the teams combined for seven lead changes and a tie before the opening half ended with the Panthers clinging to a 30-29 lead.

The second half opened much like the first, with Centre surging out to a lead after only a little more than three minutes of play. At the 16:40 mark the Panthers found themselves in a 38-34 hole but were able to claw back. A pair of consecutive threes from junior Halle Knowles and sophomore Laura Van Peursem gave BSC a lead they would never relinquish. A jumper from sophomore Jasmynn Batts at 5:00 grew the Panther lead to 52-42, their largest of the night.

Centre would keep things interesting by cutting the BSC lead to three twice in the final 1:05 of play, but each time the Panthers had an answer to keep the Colonels at bay to earn the 62-56 victory.

The Panther scoring effort was led by 14 from Batts, 12 from Knowles, and 11 from senior Kayla Ford. The senior forward also led the team in rebounds with nine.

Paige Kellam led three Centre players in double digits with 17 points, while Alexis Guy pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

BSC owned the boards out-rebounding Centre 49-32, but committed seven more turnovers, 15-8.

The Panthers will host Sewanee on Sunday at 1 p.m and will celebrate Senior Day, honoring Ford, Bria Dupree, Alexis Adams, Diamond Elston, and Sydney McLendon during pregame festivities.