MARS HILL, N.C. — The Lady Railsplitters overcame a 12-point first-half deficit to capture a 65-58 victory over South Atlantic Conference foe Mars Hill College on Wednesday evening. With the win, Lincoln Memorial University improves to 8-5 on the season and 1-2 in SAC play, while the Lions fall to 3-8 on the year and 0-3 in the SAC.
Mars Hill rolled out of the gates by storming out to a 20-8 lead with a layup by Ansley Ricker with 12 minutes left to play in the first half. However, the Lady Railsplitters regrouped over the next seven minutes by rallying off a 21-11 run, capped with a Britney Guy layup to cut the deficit to 31-29 with 2:43 to play. A Mariah Richardson three-point play in the next possession gave the Lady Railsplitters a 32-31 lead with just over a minute to play in the half. Briana Bonaparte knocked down one of her two free throw attempts in the next Lion possession to knot the game, however, Miranda Davenport drained a jumper in the waning seconds of the first stanza to send LMU into the half leading, 34-32.
Lincoln Memorial would never trail for the remainder of the game and continued to extend their lead in the opening portion of the second half, as they assumed a 52-43 advantage following a three-pointer by Kalasia Green with 11:20 left to play. A three-point play from Kelsey Bradford with 9:27 left extended the Lady Railsplitter advantage to 55-45 which would stand as Lincoln Memorial’s largest lead of the contest.
The Lions would cut into the deficit and fight back into the game down the stretch, making it a one possession game at 59-56 with a layup from Cadence Wilmoth with 3:13 to play. Kelsey Bradford answered with a layup on the Lady Railsplitter end to extend the lead to five, which was counteracted by a Ansley Ricker jumper in the next possession. Holding tight to a 61-58 lead with 1:39 to play, the Lady Railsplitters scored the final four points with a free throw from MaRanda Boddie and a three-pointer from Kelsey Bradford to ice the game with 19 seconds remaining.
Kalasia Green paced the Lady Railsplitters by matching a game-high number with 18 points en route to earning University Medical Clinic Player of the Game honors. She added four steals and three boards in 25 minutes. Kelsey Bradford added 14 points on 5-10 shooting from the field. She also corralled four rebounds and dished out a pair of assists.
Mariah Richardson and MaRanda Boddie notched six points apiece with six and eight rebounds respectively to lead the Lady Railsplitters in that category.
Lincoln Memorial edged the Lions, 21-15, in bench output, headlined by Ralissa Nelson’s eight-point effort in the Lady Railsplitters’ second unit. Britney Guy and Stevie Yazzie tallied four points apiece to aide in the triumphant effort for LMU.
The Lady Railsplitters finished the contest 25-64 from the floor, good for a 39.1% clip from the field. On the defensive end, LMU limited the Lions to a 19-61 effort from the field. Ansley Ricker led the Lions by matching Green’s game-high 18 points with 14 of her points coming in the first half. Cadence Wilmoth added nine points off the bench while Armeka Booker, who ranks second in the SAC in scoring, was held to only eight points in the contest.
The Lady Railsplitters forced the Lions into 20 turnovers which were turned into 18 points, however, Mars Hill countered by forcing LMU into 19 turnovers which were made into 22 points.
Lincoln Memorial will look to get even in South Atlantic Conference play this Saturday, as they return to Tex Turner Arena to host Anderson University in a league battle with the Trojans. That game is set to tip at 3 p.m. on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University.