In a battle between the two teams tied for last in the ASUN conference, the Lipscomb Lady Bisons (4-17, 1-5) faced the USC Upstate Spartans (8-13, 1-5) Thursday night in Allen Arena, with the Bisons clinching the victory 84-77.
Junior Riley Northway, senior Alex Banks and junior Meredith Lovelady led the team to a victory over the Spartans. Both athletes finished with double-digit points, with Northway scoring 21 total.
Loren Cagle exceeded her average points scored of 8.2, scoring 9 total points. The junior nearly made history with a triple-double, which would have been the first in ASUN conference history, but in the end, fell one point short.
“We worked hard in practice and knowing that we put that hard work in and played it out the way we wanted it to is good,” Cagle said. “I thought we played awesome. I thought we executed well; we had some rough moments, but we got the win, and that’s all that mattered. Getting those rebounds and stops really helped us out to get our offense going.”
Cagle was named to the preseason watch list for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is handed out each season to the best point guard in the nation. She was one of only 20 student-athletes to earn the recognition.
The Lady Bisons established a good pace in the first quarter and got up early in the game, never falling behind and leading 13-10 at the end of the period.
This was the 19th Division I match-up between the two schools, with Upstate holding a 15-3 series lead.
In the second period, the Spartans moved quickly, taking the lead in the first few minutes, but the Lady Bisons soon regained their lead 25-24. USC started with an 11-0 run in the second quarter, but Lipscomb finished it with a 12-0 run to end the first half.
At the end of the half, the Lady Bisons led 37-26.
Last season, the Spartans won both of the regular season match-ups against the Lady Bisons. Coach Greg Brown, in his 5th season with Lipscomb, said the team succeeded tonight because of the hard work the women put in during practice.
“We just talked about what we had done in practice, and the things we were doing well,” Brown said. “It sounds cliche, but we just went back to the things we had been doing well.”
The Lady Bisons kept an even pace in the third period, leading 54-44 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Lipscomb came out strong and on top, not letting USC Upstate take the lead once.
With less than a minute left in the game, the Spartans brought the game to a tight 79-75, but the Bisons soon widened the gap to 84-77.
With 10 seconds left in the game, Cagle took two foul shots, making one. If Cagle had made both shots, she would have had her triple-double.
“I think we played well,” Brown said. “It was a tough game, but we found a way to win.”
The Lady Bisons are back on the court Saturday at 4 p.m. against NJIT in Allen Arena.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics