Panthers Pull Away From Tornados in Conference Opener

Junior forward Deja Riddick scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out six assists in Brevard's conference-opener against LaGrange College (Photo courtesy of Tommy Moss).
Junior forward Deja Riddick scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out six assists in Brevard's conference-opener against LaGrange College (Photo courtesy of Tommy Moss).

BREVARD, N.C. - The Brevard College women's basketball team (2-4, 0-1 USAS) fell by a final score of 61-47 to the visiting LaGrange College Panthers (6-1, 1-0 USAS) in both teams' USA South Conference-opening contest on Saturday afternoon at the Boshamer Gymnasium. 

Shakirah Thompson led the way for Brevard's offense with 12 points, draining four 3-pointers in the matchup. Sophomore center Avery Lockwood added 10 points, four boards, and three steals, while junior forward Deja Riddick stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, eight rebounds, and a game-high six assists. Victoria Green, Mekindia Martin, and Breana Ware each added two steals apiece to BC's defensive effort in Saturday's game. 

Jahpera McEachin scored 17 points to lead all LaGrange scorers while also dishing out a team-best four assists. Daijah Cousins came off the bench to add 10 points and five boards, while Sarah Evans paced LaGrange's defense with three blocks and five boards. 

The Panthers used efficient shooting to take Saturday's victory, as LaGrange shot 24-of-57 (42%) compared to Brevard's 17-of-57 (30%) from the field. Although the Tornados made two more 3-pointers than the Panthers, LaGrange shot 5-of-13 (39%) to Brevard's 7-of-29 (24%).

LaGrange held a 43-31 advantage on rebounds and dominated on points in the paint, outscoring BC 36-18 on scoring in the painted area. Saturday's contest featured five ties and three lead changes. 

Riddick drained a 3-point jump shot to kick off the scoring in the game before LaGrange took the lead off an early 8-0 scoring run in the first quarter. After a Green long-range shot, the Panthers wrapped up the first period on an 11-2 scoring run, giving LaGrange a 19-10 advantage. 

With the score 22-14 in favor of LaGrange at the 6:07 mark in the second quarter, Brevard put together a 10-2 scoring stretch capped off by a Thompson 3-pointer that tied the contest, 24-24. The Panthers broke Brevard's lengthy run with a long-range shot of their own, retaking the lead 27-24 that would hold until the halftime intermission. 

Brevard retook the lead for the first time since the opening moments of the contest with a pair of free throws from senior center Krysta Davis, giving the Tornados a one-point, 31-30 lead at the 7:18 mark in the third period. That lead extended to four points thanks to a Thompson 3-pointer before the Panthers clawed back to retake the advantage, 35-34, with 5:47 left in the third quarter. 

Brevard's Riddick hit back-to-back free throws to retake the lead, 36-35. However, a Charley Amissah-Reye jump shot gave LaGrange a lead that it would not relinquish the rest of the way, as the Panthers ended the third quarter on a 13-4 scoring run to hold a 48-40 advantage heading into the game's final period. 

McEachin broke up nearly three minutes of scoreless action by making a pair of free throws to kick off a fourth quarter that LaGrange outscored Brevard 13-7. A 13-2 run by the Panthers put the contest out of Brevard's reach, as the Tornados trailed by 19 points - LaGrange's biggest lead of the afternoon - with 1:11 remaining in the game. Lockwood and Thompson trimmed into LaGrange's lead late with five-consecutive points, however, the Panthers prevailed, 61-47. 

The Tornados have a quick turnaround as Head Coach Donald Hudson's squad prepares to host local Western North Carolina institution Warren Wilson College on Monday, December 2 at 7 p.m. at the Boshamer Gymnasium. 

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