Basketball (W)

Higgins Scores 18 as Women's Basketball Fall in Opener at #21 Aiken

Howard posts double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds

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AIKEN, SC -- Behind 23 points and 11 rebounds by Morgan Johnson, the 21st-ranked USC-Aiken Pacers defeated visiting Catawba 69-61 in women’s basketball action on Tuesday night at the Convocation Center.  It marked the season opener for both teams. 

The teams played a tight game in the early going and Catawba held a 27-24 lead with 6:22 left in the opening half after a basket by Hillary Hampton (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan HS), but the Pacers ended the half on a 13-2 run to grab a 37-29 lead at the break.  USC-Aiken moved out by as many as 13 points at 46-33 on a bucket by Johnson with 15:43 to play.

Catawba would fight back, scoring nine straight points in just over a two minute span to pull within 46-42 on a jumper by Brittany Higgins (Takoma Park, MD/Blair HS).  That would be as close as the Lady Indians would get as Meredith Legg hit a three-pointer and Johnson added a basket to push the lead to 51-42.  Catawba would stay close and got back within four on a jumper by Nisha Long (Dallas, NC/Gaston Day) with 2:28 left, but the Pacers hit on 9-of-11 free throws in the final 1:17 to stay in front.

NeKeithia Howard (Macon, GA/Northeast HS) posted a double-double for Catawba with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.  Higgins led the Lady Indians in scoring with 18 points, while Sicilia LoSauro (Oviedo, FL/Oviedo HS) tallied 12 points, canning 4-of-7 from three-point range.

Legg followed Johnson for USCA with 16 points, while Jordan Thomas added 10.  The Pacers struggled from long range, making just 4-of-18 from behind the arc, but cashed in on 19-of-27 (70.4%) at the line to just 6-of-11 (54.5%) for Catawba.  Both teams took care of the ball as USCA committed 12 turnovers and the Lady Indians just 11.

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