RU Rebounds from Home Loss with Back to Back Road Wins

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Sean Karoly
skaroly@radford.eduRU

Following a loss against Campbell University at home on Saturday, Jan 22, the Highlanders’ Women’s Basketball team snagged two straight victories against Big South Conference opponents on the road.
The Highs could not establish a good flow throughout the contest and found themselves trying to catch up to the Camels for the majority of the game.
Down by eight after only scoring 22 points in the first half, the Highs finally got their offense going in the second half and put up 39 points.
18 of the 39 second half points came from six three pointers from junior guard Ayana Avery.
Even with the increase in scoring, the defense and rebounding continued to struggle against Campbell and the Highs allowed 45 second half points from Campbell for a final score of 75-61.
“Early on we just needed to play together more and execute,” said Avery, who finished with 21 points for the game. “On defense we couldn’t really locate where the shooters were going to be.”
Senior guard Breshara Gordon and sophomore center Rachael Ross put up 14 and 11 points for the game, respectively. However, the team was only able to shoot 37 percent from the floor.
“We couldn’t find the rhythm to get good shots from the right people,” said head coach Mike McGuire. “Campbell did a great job of playing defense by switching from man-to-man to 2-3 [zone]; we just never could get a good offensive flow.
The next game, played last Thursday Jan 27, told a different story.
Playing against the high scoring Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, the Highs stepped up their offensive efficiency and defense to win an intense game by the score of 63-62.
The Highs had lost their previous two contests against Coastal by one point.
CCU and RU played neck-and-neck throughout the entire game, as the lead changed an astounding 21 times.
Radford was up 60-58 with just over a minute left to play, but Coastal Carolina guard Kayla Cook converted a 3-point play to give her team the 61-60 advantage.
On Radford’s ensuing possession, the group could not come up with a basket and fouled guard Jena Hamrick following a missed attempt.
Hamrick only hit one of two from the line, so the Highs found themselves down by two with just 49 seconds left to play.
Ayana Avery rebounded the missed free throw and passed the ball to Breshara Gordon. After passing the half court line, Gordon passed the ball back to Avery who was coming off a screen, and drilled a three pointer with 32 seconds left.
Neither team scored in the remaining seconds and the Highs came away with the one point victory.
Avery hit 4 of 4 attempts from the three point s line and broke the Radford Women’s Basketball single season record for three point shots made, surpassing Patrinda Toney’s 67 made three balls in 1989.
The team held Coastal Carolina to just 34 percent from the floor.
Gordon, sophomore guard Aisha Foy, and junior guard Kiera McIvor joined Avery in double digit scoring for the game. Avery also grabbed eight rebounds in the game.
The Highs kept the momentum rolling in their brief road trip with another strong defensive showing against Charleston Southern University last Saturday, Feb 1.
CSU was only able to muster 28 percent shooting in the game which included a barrage of 36 three point attempts, but only knocked down 10.
Additionally, the Buccaneers only tallied three points on nine free throw attempts in the contest.
RU was much more efficient in the game and shot 48 percent from the floor with 5-of-8 from three point territory, four of which came from Ayana Avery.
Aisha Foy made a three of her own en route to a 12 point, 7 rebound performance.
Avery finished with 18 points in the game, just ahead of teammate Breshara Gordon who put up 15 of her own on 6-of-8 shooting.
The team returns to the Dedmon Center to play the sturdy defense of Presbyterian College tomorrow. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Sean Karoly

Second year as sports writer for The Tartan.