Paramount Upset Over No. 11 USC Aiken Continues UNCP’s Win Streak
PEMBROKE – By never allowing No. 11 USC Aiken to control the lead, the UNCP women's basketball team upset the Lady Pacers, 52-46, by toppling over the squad in its third-straight Peach Belt Conference victory of the season on Wednesday evening in the English E. Jones Center.
UNCP (7-8, 4-3 PBC) delivered USC Aiken (13-2, 6-1) its first conference loss of the season and snapped its school-record 12-game winning streak. With another game of being out-rebounded, the Lady Braves controlled their defensive play by only committing nine fouls in the 40 minutes of action along with shooting 35.7 percent from the field to record, by far, their most paramount victory of the season.
Seniors Domonique Washington and DeDe Cotten commanded the offense with a team-best 14 and 11 points, respectively, as well as each dishing out a shared game-high three assists. Washington showed her aggressive nature with five steals and six defensive rebounds. Down in the paint, junior Courtney Bolton grabbed a team-best seven rebounds and tipped in nine points.
The Lady Braves were 13-of-15 from the charity stripe with 10-of-11 occurring in the second-half alone. Despite each team coughing the ball up 18 times apiece, UNCP used the mistakes to its advantage as 18 points came off turnovers.
Newcomer Taylor Gallentine drained a 3-pointer to give the Lady Braves the first points of the game, and used a 12-2 run over a five minute span to hold an 11-point lead. Returning to the locker room at the half, UNCP held the 24-18 lead and was 37.5 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from the 3-point line.
USC Aiken cut the lead early in the second half with a 3-pointer by Daniela Tarailo, but a tip-in by Bolton and a returned 3-pointer by Cotten allowed the Lady Braves to regain an eight point lead. With 6:17 left on the clock, UNCP held the 11-point lead with the layup by Washington, but the Lady Pacers came to within one point with 00:49 left to play to put the more than 480 fans on the edge of their seats. Five consecutive foul shots, four by Washington and one by Gallentine, and two crucial steals, finalized the score as UNCP cracked its three-game losing streak in the series with USC Aiken.
"We gave (Tarailo) a couple looks in the second half, where she knocked down shots on us and then she made one real tough one, but the rest of the defensive game besides some offensive rebounds, I thought we were very good defensively, " said UNCP head coach John Haskins. "A lot of those (free throws) were down the stretch when we needed to make free throws."
"I thought (Washington) struggled at times tonight, and we just told her when you get the ball, just put your head down and go until someone stops you. She made that play against their press in transition and scored that layup, and then I thought late in the game her two steals were what won the game for us."
Tarailo led the USC Aiken with 16 points, while Kayla Harris slightly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. The Lady Pacers pulled down 38 rebounds, but committed 16 fouls. Overall the squad shot 30.4 percent from the field, 22.7 percent from the 3-point line and 87.5 from the free throw line.
The Black and Gold will play host to PBC opponent Georgia College (3-12, 1-5 PBC) on Sunday in the English E. Jones Center. Tipoff has been slated for 1:30 p.m. with the men's game starting approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women's game. Admission prices are $5 for adults and $2 for children 18 years of age and younger. UNCP students are admitted free with a valid Braves Card.
To watch the full game click HERE.