DEMOREST, Ga. – The LaGrange College women's basketball team forced 30 turnovers and junior forward Karson Troth scored her first two collegiate points Sunday during a 50-41 setback to Berry in the USA South/SAA Classic at Piedmont University.
Junior guard Gracie Brunel tallied a team-high 13 points and set a personal record with a game-leading five steals for the Panthers (1-1). Leading the way for the Vikings (1-1) were Elizabeth Sierzant (18 points, 5 rebounds) and Kennedy Moore (11 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals).
The Panthers made numerous extra-effort plays on the defensive end. Senior forward Megan English drew two charges and freshman guard Ema Turner took one. Brunel and English sprinted back in transition during the third quarter and broke up layup opportunities for Berry with their quick hands.
A layup off an offensive rebound by Brunel evened the score at 2-2 with 7:37 remaining in the first quarter. Turner and junior center Jada Strickland executed a perfect pick-and-roll play, as Turner threaded the needle with a pass in the paint to Strickland, who was fouled. Strickland went 1 of 2 at the free-throw line, cutting the Vikings' advantage to 9-7 with 1:44 on the clock.
In the last minute of the first, English dove on the floor for a loose ball, and then passed to freshman guard Bryanna Sanders. Senior guard Jada Brown took a feed from Sanders and finished at the basket, trimming the deficit down to 13-9 at the end of one.
Brunel scored the first four points of the second, as a floater and driving layup knotted the game at 13-13. An aggressive driving layup by Sanders gave LaGrange a 15-13 lead with 6:06 on the scoreboard. A pair of free throws by Moore with five seconds left gave Berry a 21-18 advantage at halftime.
With 3:26 left in the third, senior guard Jalaya Lewis attacked the paint and converted a runner during an old-fashioned, 3-point play, bringing the Panthers to within three at 30-27. Brunel converted a floater off the glass 22 seconds later, making it a one-point game.
Brown located Strickland in the final minute of the third. After missing the first attempt, Strickland converted her second effort in the paint, evening the score at 31-31. The Vikings took a 32-31 lead into the last 10 minutes.
Troth scored her first points in a Panther uniform with a mid-range jumper 2:53 into the fourth. A right-wing 3-pointer by Brunel with 6:24 left cut Berry's advantage to 37-36. The Vikings secured the win by ending the game on a 13-5 run.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
Strickland finished with seven points and six boards. Turner played with great energy on both ends of the floor and tied for a team-high six rebounds.
The Panthers led the points-in-the-paint category, 20-12, and held a 15-10 lead in points off turnovers.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
LaGrange is 8-9 all-time against Berry. During the 2019-20 season, the Panthers emerged victorious twice against the Vikings, enjoying wins of 67-65 and 49-47.
The Vikings won the first-ever meeting between the programs, 74-64, in the 2009-10 campaign. During the following season, the Panthers won their first game in the rivalry, 88-68.
The Panthers compete in their home opener against Emory Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Mariotti Gym.
Assistant Sports Information Director Trevor Wenners can be reached at email@example.com.