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Aisha Foy has hit clutch shots for the Lady Highlanders all season long, but none were more impressive than the one she hit on Tuesday night. Hosting Big South foe Gardner-Webb last Tuesday night at the Dedmon Center for the annual “Pink Game,” Foy’s three-pointer with 30.6 seconds remaining gave Radford the 54-51 comeback win.
Radford trailed 47-37 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, but got the spark they needed with a 13-4 run. Jayda Worthy found a wide open Janayla White for a big layup with 1:12 left in regulation, which pulled the Highs within one (51-50). A block by Lydia Rivers on the next possession for Gardner-Webb gave Radford the ball back with less than 40 seconds remaining. After calling timeout, the Highlanders wasted no time. Rivers found Foy open for a three on the right side of the court and she sank it to give Radford the lead and eventual win.
“Sophomore year, we only had seven players and we had to fight every game just to get through the games,” Foy said. “But this team has been through a lot of stuff, three injuries early, so we’re just fighting through and staying together.”
After Foy’s clutch shot, Radford had to make one more defensive stop. The best defense in the Big South (ranking first in blocked shots), forced a three by Tierra Huntsman that was airballed as time expired to seal the win.
Freshman Sydney Nunley added, “I’ve never been on a team that has gone through this much adversity before and it has been quite a journey. I’ve learned that staying together is the most important thing that we can do and that’s what we’ve done this whole time.”
It was the largest comeback win for the Highlanders as they trailed by as many as 11 points. The victory also moved Radford past High Point for fifth place in the conference. Gaby Gilmore and Foy both led the way with 14 points for the Highlanders. Worthy dished out a career-high six assists.
“This was one of our three final home games,” said head coach Mike McGuire. “We know we are going to have to be really good on the road the rest of the way. That being said, we needed to hold serve at home tonight. For us to get this win, and the way we got it, is really good for our team’s confidence. You have to win your home games and we found a way to win one tonight. I am proud of our resiliency against a very good team in Gardner-Webb.”
Radford got another comeback win, this time on the road. On Saturday at Charleston Southern, after trailing 17-2 to start the game, the Lady Highlanders came up big in the second half outscoring the Buccaneers 41-19 for a 61-50 win. They trailed 31-21 at the half and came out of the locker room with fire. It started on a 12-6 run to start the third quarter. They still trailed 45-39 at the start of the final frame. Radford answered with a three-pointer from Alexis Jackson and White followed with a layup that put the Highs within one, 45-44. Radford took the lead, 46-45, at 7:22 when Gilmore found Worthy for a wide-open jumper near the free-throw line.
Radford kept their hot shooting going as they scored six straight buckets. A Gilmore steal and layup put the Highs up 52-45. This scoring run also saw White score four of her eight points from the fourth quarter. Radford hit five of six free throws and it sealed the 61-50 win.
White finished with her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Gilmore finished with 10 points, four assists, four steals, and three rebounds. Radford outrebounded Charleston Southern 47-33, with 16 on the offensive side and resulted in 17 points. Rivers added 10 rebounds.
Coach McGuire credited an in-game adjustment as a factor in the comeback.
“I thought the game changed when we went to our half-court trap,” said McGuire. “The momentum switched and gave us life. It was a hard-fought and physical conference road win for us. This makes two games in a row that we had really solid fourth quarters. Our players responded and stepped up. They gave no excuses after the first quarter. This group is going to battle and find a way to win.”
Radford traveled to UNC Asheville on Tuesday night. Saturday afternoon is Senior Day at the Dedmon Center. Radford will host Longwood with tipoff at 2 p.m.