The UNCP women’s basketball team put the clamps of the offense of the visiting USC Aiken Pacers and owned the glass. The Braves limited the Pacers to their lowest outing on offense of the season and out rebounded them by a double-digit margin in a 58-47 win on Jan. 23 on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court.
“I thought that was our best defensive effort of the year. I don’t know if it was statistically, but to hold that team to 47 points and right around 30 percent shooting was, I thought that was an awesome job,” said Head Coach John Haskins.
This win marked the second straight for the Braves and who move into a three-way tie for fifth place in the Peach Belt Conference standing as well as the fourth straight loss for the Pacers in the series between the two teams. The Black and Gold have strung together back to back wins for the first time since February of last season.
The Pacers became the fourth team that the Braves were able to keep at 31 percent or less (30.8) shooting from the field this season. Before this defeat USC Aiken had out rebounded 15 straight opponents and came into the contest ranked fifth nationally in out rebounding as the Braves bullied them for a 47-36 advantage.
“I just told them if we don’t rebound, we’re going to get our feelings hurt because they will go after the ball and I just think we did a good job of pursuing the basketball,” said Haskins.
The Braves only managed to have just two players register double-digit points in this strong defensive effort. Junior Tee Graham led the team in scoring with 14 points, that included a perfect 7-7 clip from the charity stripe and sophomore Melanie Horne went 4-7 from the perimeter to come in second in scoring with 13 points.
“I was just finding ways to get open and executing the plays that coach called and just making the shot,” said Horne about what was the key to her success with the long ball on the day.
While senior Avery Locklear finished fifth in scoring with just six point, she made her biggest impact in the paint and in getting the ball to her teammates as she led the Braves with not only a team high but a new career high with 12 rebounds, nine of them coming offensively and a team high four assists.
“I just try to play hard and just go after it and go get it…I think I have kind of found my shot, stopped shooting the three as much and getting more inside and shooting a little pull up jumper, “ said Locklear.