Panthers are victorious at home, build first two-game winning streak in more than a year

Cameron Hawkins (No. 22) fires a jump shot for the Panthers, who defeated Hollins University in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) game Wednesday at William P. Swartz Gymnasium.

FERRUM – Ferrum College’s women’s basketball team drove a proverbial stake through the heart of one losing streak that had yet to die.

The Panthers (2-4 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, 2-11 overall) netted 29 points in the second stanza to erase a one-point deficit, then took complete control courtesy of a 37-point second half for a 76-54 league triumph over Hollins University at William P. Swartz Gymnasium.

With the win, Ferrum ends a 20-game losing streak at Swartz Gym – the Panthers were 0-12 on their home court last season and were 0-8 prior to Wednesday’s triumph.

Ferrrum’s last win at home prior to its 22-point conquering of a seven-win Hollins club was its one-point, post-season victory over Averett University in the quarterfinals of the 2018 USA South Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament.

Now, Ferrum has built a two-game winning streak for the first time since last season when the Panthers bested Averett and ODAC foe Eastern Mennonite in consecutive, November road games. Those two wins were the final ones of a 3-22 campaign.

“I am happy for our players for them to have won a couple (of games) in a row. Hopefully, thatn will give us confidence as we move forward in the season,’’ Panthers head coach Bryan Harvey said.

“We just need to keep our heads down and keep getting better every day,’’ Harvey said.

Hollins (2-4 in the ODAC, 7-5 overall) led 11-10 after the first quarter, but Ferrum overcame that deficit by capturing the second stanza by 14 points, 29-15.

The count was even at 22 when the Panthers went on a 17-4 run to build their halftime edge. Kayla Cabiness, with five points, and Aisha Martin, with four points, accounted for nine of those 17 points.

Ferrum tallied seven of the first 10 points of the third period to push the spread to 17 points, 46-29.

The difference would later reach 25, but Hollins was within 15 points, 61-46, at the close of the quarter.

The Panthers won the final frame 15-8.

Ferrrum’s 76 points are a season-best total and a best offensive output since last year’s 75-68 win at Averett.

The Panthers did surpass the 70-point mark in a non-conference loss to Greensboro (North Carolina) College (81-73) last year and bypassed the 60-point mark four other times.

“I thought our kids played extremely hard. We showed some toughness and played physical. We knocked some shots down early that gave us confidence and really gave us some energy on the defensive end,’’ Harvey said.

Hollins was a season removed from defeating Ferrum for the first time in women’s basketball.

Kayla Surles scored a game-best 18 points and passed out a team-best three assists for Hollins.

Also, Serena Lytton tallied 10 points and Keyazia Taylor netted six points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Ferrum placed five players in double figures.

Cabiness totaled a team-best 16 points, pulled down six rebounds and distributed four assists, while Martin tallied 12 points and claimed seven rebounds.

Arin Bunker finished with 1‘3 points, while Jacy Marvin scored 12 and Jessy Nichols had 10.

“Seeing five players in double figures is nice. We haven’t had that in a while,’’ Harvey said.

Ferrum was 25 of 69 (36.2 percent) from the field and held advantages in rebounds (50-38) assists (17-7), points off turnovers (24-7), second-chance points (17-4), points in the paint (26-10) and bench points (30-11) at game’s end.

The Panthers limited Hollins to 30.4 percent (17 of 56) shooting and forced 21 turnovers, while committing 12.

Ferrum returns to action Saturday against ODAC rival Bridgewater College.

Tip off is 2 p.m. at Bridgewater.

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