Women’s basketball stays on top of Big South with two wins

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by Jason Blocker | jblocker2@radford.edu

The Radford women’s basketball team extended its shared lead in the Big South with two more conference victories this week. On Tuesday, the Highlanders (19-6, 11-3 Big South) traveled to Longwood University to embarrass the Lancers on their home court. Longwood (4-21, 1-13) proved to be Radford’s least worthy opponent of the season, posting season-lows in field goals (12) and points (34).

Longwood saw its only lead of the game right after the tip off, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. Highlander guard Destinee Walker wasn’t having any of it, forcing early turnovers and capitalizing on fast-break opportunities to take a 17-11 lead after the first quarter. The lead continued throughout the half, as Jayda Worthy, Khiana Johnson and Claudia Quevedo contributed to a 22-6 run, extending the Highlanders lead to 35-17 at the intermission.

Momentum never shifted towards the Lancers, as Radford continued to dominate in the second half. A combination of sloppy turnovers and lack of transition defense caused Radford to spring two more runs. Ending the game on a 28-6 rally, Radford would hold on to the lead, defeating Longwood 74-34.

The Highlanders’ conference dominance continued Saturday afternoon, notching a 60-50 win over Presbyterian College. The game—broadcasted by ESPN3—fell on alumni day, drawing a crowd of faithful alumni to watch their Alma mater shine.

The Blue Hose (10-15, 8-6) would compete in the early going, as guards Cortney Storey and Riley Hemm led a relentless offensive attack. Contending with Radford after the first quarter, Presbyterian looked to be in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately for them, Destinee Walker and Janayla White wouldn’t allow that to continue much further. In the second quarter, the Highlanders shots began to fall in a trigger-happy offense. Radford outscored the Blue Hose 20-5 in the second, opening up the lead to 33-16 before the half.

The first half rally can be more attributed towards the poor shooting performance displayed by the Blue Hose. Presbyterian shot only 24 percent in the first half. That narrative would not continue, however, as they shot lights-out to begin the second half. Scoring the first 11 points of the half, the Blue Hose chipped away at the lead. Radford only led by five heading into the fourth.

Destinee Walker, once again, killed the momentum for the opponent. Hitting a three from the top-corner of the arc, Presbyterian knew allowing Walker to get hot would be a huge mistake. The attention drawn towards Walker allowed center Sydney Nunley to put convert a three-point play to officially keep Presbyterian out of contention. The final four minutes of the game saw no field goals from either team, ending in a free-throw shootout. Radford would hold on to the lead, capturing their 11th Big South win of the season.

The Highlanders will travel to take on Gardner-Webb on Tuesday to take on the Bulldogs in Boiling Springs, N.C. They then return to the Dedmon Center on Saturday for Senior Day in a matchup against UNC Asheville. Tip off is set for 2 p.m.