Basketball (W)

Women's Basketball Misses Near Upset of USC Aiken


AIKEN, SC -- USC Aiken forward Kayla Harris poured in 28 points to drive the Pacers by Catawba College 71-69 in the quarterfinals of the Southeast Regional on Friday evening at Aiken’s Convocation Center. The Pacers improve to 27-3 overall and move on to the semifinals where they’ll take on the winner of #4 Lander and #5 Limestone. The Lady Indians complete their successful season at 19-11.

Down by one with seven seconds remaining, Lauren Lewis (Concord, NC/N. Mecklenburg HS) missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer from the deep right corner as Aiken’s Brittany Hill grabbed the rebound and was quickly fouled.

On the other end Hill made the first, missed the second setting up what was to be one last attempt for the Lady Indians but a long pass with four seconds left to Dana Hicks (York, SC/Gaston Day HS) near midcourt was stolen by Harris to end the threat and send the Pacers to the next round.

Catawba had a 67-66 lead with 1:34 to go on a layup and free throw by Hicks but lost it due to the Pacers hitting four straight free throws aided by a steal in between by Hill.

The majority of the game was close with nine ties and eight lead changes throughout both halves. Top-seeded Aiken took advantage of #8 Catawba’s 15 turnovers scoring 19 points off them. The Lady Indians out-rebounded the Pacers 38-27 and shot 50% from the field for the game including 7-of-16 from three-point range.

The Lady Indians took their largest lead of the game of 42-39 with 15:36 to go in the second half on a trey by Nisha Long (Dallas, NC/Gaston Day HS). Aiken retook the lead a few possessions later at 46-44 on a Daniela Tarailo jumper. Long finished with 19 points and five assists in her last collegiate game.

Catawba found itself down nine at 31-22 with just over four minutes to go until halftime before it mounted a late comeback. With a layup by Hicks, two by Jolysa Connor (Charlotte, NC/E.E. Waddell HS) and a three-point shot by Chloe Bully (Hannut, BELGIUM/Namur HS), the Lady Indians tied it by halftime at 31 apiece.

The Pacers jumped out to an 8-0 advantage due to two Catawba turnovers and Harris’ two layups and a steal that led to a Tarailo three-pointer. Bully found her long-range shot as she buried two straight from beyond the arc to get Catawba within one at 15-14 with 12:56 remaining.

Senior Hicks had 11 rebounds and nine points in her swan song for the Lady Indians. Bully chipped in 19 points and three assists.

Hannah DeGraffinreed scored 20 with seven boards for the Pacers while Tarailo finished with ten and four.

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