|Ferrum defeats LaGrange in a scoring spree by 18|
Ferrum College’s Shea Smith (Franklin County) drives to the basket for a breakaway lay-up to complete a career-best 28-point performance in Saturday’s 92-74 USA South Athletic Conference women’s basketball win over LaGrange (Ga.) College at William P. Swartz Gymnasium. (Staff Photo by Steven Marsh)
Monday, February 11, 2013
By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor
FERRUM -- LaGrange (Ga.) College's ability to hit 3-pointers forced Ferrum College to win its Saturday USA South Athletic Conference women's basketball matinee multiple times.
The Panthers were up to the task in a 92-74 victory at William P. Swartz Gymnasium, their 17th in a row at home dating to last year.
Ferrum (14-1 in the USA South, 20-2 overall), playing its first game as the top ranked club in the South Region of NCAA Division III, achieves back-to-back 20-wins seasons with the victory.
It marks the fourth time in eight years that head coach Bryan Harvey has led the Panthers to 20 wins or more in a single campaign.
Ferrum, ranked No. 21 nationally in one Division III poll and No. 24 in another, is the reigning conference champion and has won six straight games.
But to win Saturday, the Panthers needed to score in the 90s for the sixth time this season. In both of their wins over LaGrange, they've registered 92 points, albeit, it took an overtime session for them to do that in their comeback triumph in Georgia.
A career-best 28-point showing by junior guard Shea Smith (Franklin County) and a 24-point performance by junior post player Katy Kipps -- she was a perfect 10 of 10 from the field -- were pivotal in the victory.
Smith made 9 of 13 shots from the field, was 9 of 9 from the free-throw line and distributed a game-best seven assists.
"Actually, the shots were open (for me and I don't know how. I think I was just hyped up for the game because I knew it was a big one for us. I knew we had to win,' Smith said.
Ferrum made 34 of 68 (50 percent) shots from the field. Of those 34 field goals, 28 were produced by an assist.
"With Tesla (Akers) on the floor, they don't help (on defense) against our shooters. I thought Shea did a nice job penetrating and with her mid-range jumper -- she pulled up and hit that shot off the dribble,' Ferrum bench boss Bryan Harvey said.
Ferrum led by 22 points, 67-45, after a three-point play by Kipps with 14:42 left. But with 7:28 to go, LaGrange was within nine, 76-69.
Ferrum would push the spread to 14 points, 81-69, after a Kipps basket and a Akers free throw. But with 3:59 showing, LaGrange was within nine again, 81-72.
"(LaGrange) shoots the (3-pointer) so well. A big lead against them is not like a big lead against other teams because they are such a good-shooting team,' Harvey said.
Ferrum finished the game on an 11-2 run fueled by Smith's six points, three by Akers and two by Kipps.
LaGrange (8-7 in the USA South, 13-9 overall) was 7 of 16 from 3-point range in the opening half, a stanza that saw the two teams combine for 92 points. In the second half, the visitors were 5 of 19 from beyond the long-distance arc.
"They're probably one of the top scoring teams (in Division III). Seventy-four (points) doesn't sound like a good defensive night, but we held them to 11 points under their average,' Harvey said. "And, we played pretty well on the offensive end.'
Akers and Kylene Culler each finished with 11 points for Ferrum. LaGrange countered with three double-figure scorers: Heather Miller with 19 and Caroline Brashier and Alex Wilson each with 11.
Jacole Hairston, who entered the game as the Division III leader in field-goal percentage, was held to two points on a 1 of 9 shooting display. But she was a factor -- she grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds.