|Bryan College 17-14||12||13||14||21||60|
|Reinhardt (Ga.) 27-5||16||19||5||14||54|
|Feb. 24, 2017|
|Bryan College||Indv. Leaders||Reinhardt (Ga.)|
|2 Players (#21,#44) - 14||Points||#50 Bria WHITE - 13|
|2 Players (#21,#44) - 10||Rebounds||#14 Rebecca CHEEKS - 13|
|#00 Tristan McClellan - 5||Assists||#25 Jaleya MOSLEY - 4|
|Bryan College||Team Statistics||Reinhardt (Ga.)|
|42.6% (20 - 47)||Field Goals %||25% (16 - 64)|
|22.2% (2 - 9)||3 Point Field Goals %||16.7% (5 - 30)|
|66.7% (18 - 27)||Free Throws||81% (17 - 21)|
|2||2nd Chance Pts||13|
Kingsport, Tenn. – Down 35-25 at the half, the 6th seeded Bryan College Lions Women's Basketball Team overwhelmed 2nd seeded Reinhardt University (Ga.) 14-5 in the third quarter and then 21-14 in the final period, completing a 60-54 upset of the Eagles in comeback fashion in the semifinal round of the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Friday evening. The only thing standing in the way of the AAC Tournament crown for Bryan is No. 5 seed Tennessee Wesleyan University, who also knocked off a top-team in Milligan College (Tenn.) to punch a ticket to the championship game slated for Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2pm in the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
The Lions improve to 17-14 overall, while the Eagles ended the season with an overall record of 27-5.
Erisha Talley and Megan Billingsby produced remarkable finishes in the thrilling victory, with each registering a double-double on matching 14 points and 10 rebounds apiece. Billingsby also aided with a team-high three steals, and Talley dished out two assists. Billingsby was 6-of-11 shooting in the game, while Talley was 5-of-9 and a perfect 4-of-4 at the foul line. Amber Levi was the only other Lion to reach double-digits with 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting. She dealt a lot of damage by connecting on six free throws. Bryan's next highest scorer was Maebry McNeese with six points and four boards, followed by Tristan McClellan's five points, three rebounds, and team-leading five assists. Keneisha Love aided with four points and pulled down two misses. Tonesha Allison and Ashli Chew each finished with one made bucket for two points, respectively.
Despite being outrebounded 44-38 (18-6 in offensive rebounds) and turning the ball over the same as Reinhardt 18-18, it was Bryan's defense that held the Eagles to 25 percent shooting for the game and only 16.7 percent behind the arc that ultimately helped lift the Lions. Bryan shot 40.9 percent in the opening half and went without a three-pointer, and then responded in the second half with 44 shooting from the floor and a pair of treys.
Tied 2-2 to begin the contest, the Eagles soared ahead with six unanswered points to claim an 8-2 lead. The Lions countered with their own 6-0 run to level the score 10-10 with two and a half minutes to go in the first quarter. It was McNeese who scored first for Bryan and was followed by Talley with a basket in the paint. Billingsby got the next make and was concluded with another shot from McNeese inside. A make from deep for Reinhardt helped them regain the edge 13-10. Talley made the difference 13-12, but a last-second shot from downtown was drained by the Eagles to pull ahead 16-12 after the first period.
As the second quarter got underway, Bryan remained close with Reinhardt as the Eagles maintained an 18-17 lead at the nine-minute mark. The Eagles then rallied for a 7-0 run to go up 25-17 at the midway point of the period. The Lions were able to slim the margin to 25-21 with the help of two free throws by Love. The back and forth battle continued as the Eagles went down to the other end stopped the momentum with a make from downtown. Love went to the line again and hit both foul shots, drawing within five points at 28-23, but Reinhardt tallied five unanswered points for a double-digit lead. McClellan went to the foul line this time for Bryan and was successful on both attempts to close the gap to 33-25. It was Reinhardt who had the last say of the fist half with a bucket under the basket, going ahead 35-25 at halftime.
The Lions showed determination when they produced a 13-2 run that completely rattled the Eagles to start the second half. The game-changing rally gave Bryan their first lead of the game at 38-37 with 2:49 left in the third quarter. In the last two minutes before the final period Reinhardt scored from inside, Billingsby hit a tying free throw, and the Eagles got the slight 40-39 advantage off a free throw just before heading into the fourth quarter.
Bryan gained a 41-40 lead when McNeese secured a defensive rebound and capitalized on the other end. With just over four minutes to go, both sides were tied 43-43, and one foul shot by Reinhardt gave them their last advantage of the game, 44-43. Talley went to work with the next two buckets, pushing the Lions ahead 47-44 as they never looked back. The Eagles cut it the score to 47-45, cut two baskets from Billingsby down low and a pair of free throws by Talley sealed the deal. The deficit proved too large for Reinhardt to overcome. A free throw with 30 seconds left in the game left Bryan with a 56-51 lead, but Levi followed with two made free throws to go up by seven points with 15 seconds. A trey by the Eagles made it interesting at 58-54. Talley closed out the game at the free throw line on two makes for a 60-54 final.
History will be made at the championship game as either Bryan or Tennessee Wesleyan will become the first team to win four games in four days to take claim the title.
Watch the big game live at AAC GameCentral (Cost: $7.99).
For directions to the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center, please click here.
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