The LaGrange women's basketball team overcame a second half deficit to hand Berea its first USA South loss of the season, 71-69, on Sunday in Mariotti Gym. The Panthers upped their record to 13-8 overall and 8-4 in conference play.
The Panthers also got their first ever win over Berea (19-4, 13-1 USA South) after seven straight losses. The Mountaineers had their 13-game winning streak end and are now in a tie for first in the West Division with Piedmont. LC strengthened its hold on third place in the division and hosts Piedmont on Wednesday.
Junior Breonna Glover led LC with a double-double of a career-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. Glover sat out the second quarter with foul trouble but fueled the Panthers' second half comeback with 13 points and seven rebounds. Gracie Brunel followed with 16 points, while Ema Turner had 10.
Aaliyah Hampton had a game high 20 points. Destiny Combs had 17 points and Bailee Vanover 11.
Coach Jasen Jonus
"This is the first back-to-back (the Panthers defeated Maryville 74-71 on Saturday) this year we have pulled out, which is huge for us. Just to have the resiliency to come out with two hard fought wins after being down and having to come back. I love this group when they play their hearts out. The difference from the first half to the second half was our intensity, driving and penetrating their zone. I think it's coming together for us if we keep staying together and being a team first.
Breonna played her heart out the whole game. Berea has two solid post players who go after every board. Breonna turned it on like she is capable of in the second half. "
The game was physical, and the officials whistled each team for 27 fouls. The Panthers, led by Glover, had a 42-36 edge rebounding, and forced 17 turnovers.
The two teams went to the fourth quarter tied at 50-50. Berea got the first four points of the period to go up 54-50. Two free throws by Brunel and a layup from Jalaya Lewis tied the game at 54. Glover went to work, putting back two baskets after offensive rebounds for a 62-58 lead with 3:36 left. The Panthers would not trail again but the outcome was far from settled.
LC went up five, 69-64, with a minute remaining. Brunel hit two more free throws and Turner's driving layup gave the Panthers the slim lead. Berea cut it to 69-68 after a pair of free throws by Combs. But Britney Chavez calmly hit two free throws with five seconds left to make it 71-68. Jayden Merriweather's potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark, but Combs was fouled after getting the rebound with 0.4 seconds left. She made the first but missed the second as Morgan Grant pulled down the rebound to end the game.
In the first half, the Panthers led 18-14 after the first quarter. Berea opened the second period with an 11-0 run to seize the lead. The Mountaineers built a 13-point lead, but Panthers cut the deficit to single digits, 38-30, by halftime. The Mountaineers scored the first six points of the third period for their biggest lead, 44-30. The Panthers fought back and took a 50-47 lead on Megan English's basket. The Mountaineers got the final three points of the period to tie the game heading to the final period.