MISENHEIMER, N.C. - Sophomore guard Maria Young (Asheville, N.C.) tossed in a game-high 20 points and Limestone College (7-4, 3-2) used a 17-2 run midway through the game to collect a hard fought 61-56 win against Pfeiffer University (3-8, 1-3) on Saturday night inside the Merner Gym. Trailing 26-22 at the 4:39 mark in the first half, the Saints used a long 17-2 run that spanned both halves to grab a 39-28 lead with 18:13 remaining in the game. Limestone then held on as the Falcons countered with a 22-10 stretch to close the gap to 52-50 with 4:32 left in regulation. The Blue and Gold iced the game with six clutch free throws in the final 30 seconds to preserve their second road win of the season.
In a game filled with runs by both squads, it was the 17-2 stretch by the Saints that proved to be the difference. Young dialed long distance to start the stretch before sophomore guard Lauren Pace (Suwanee, Ga.) put LC on top for good at 29-28 with 2:18 remaining in the first half. A pair of midrange jumpers by senior forward Nastashia Mitchell (Wildood, Fla.) and another score by Young gave Limestone a seven point advantage going into the locker room.
Coming out of the break, Limestone ran off five consecutive points to open up a 39-28 margin almost two minutes into the second frame. Young connected on a score and sophomore forward Ashley Robinson (Whittier, N.C.) contributed a layup to give the visitors their largest lead of the game.
Refusing to go down without a fight on their home floor, Pfeiffer scratched out a 22-10 counterattack over the next 14 minutes to climb back to within 52-50 with 4:32 remaining in the game. Christina Harvey (Locust Grove, Va.) started the long stretch at the charity strip and was followed with a jumper by Brittany Cox (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and a fast break layup by Devona Knight (Woodbridge, Va.) to close the gap to four points.
A layup by Robinson and another three-point bomb by Young fueled a mini 8-2 run for the Saints to reopen a double digit lead at 47-37. Pfeiffer was unfazed, however, as Cox drilled five consecutive points before Harvey nailed a short jumper to pull the home team to within 52-50.
Young and Robinson gave Limestone some breathing room as they helped push the lead out to 56-50 with 1:03 remaining. Although Cox added a pair of three-pointers, Limestone would convert all six of their free throw attempts in the closing seconds to hold onto the 61-56 final.
Similarly, several runs by both squads highlighted the first half. After Pfeiffer's Celeste Caudill (Sparta, N.C.) opened the scoring with a shot from downtown, Limestone used an 8-2 stretch over the next three minutes to grab an 8-5 lead with 13:23 remaining.
The Falcons responded as Caudill tossed in five points, including another long distance shot, to mount a 7-0 run to place the home team out in front by four points.
As became the theme, West and sophomore forward Bridget Ansbro (Huntersville, N.C.) connected on consecutive inside scores before Young found the stroke from long range to cap a 9-2 stretch to put the Saints back on top 17-14. It was short-lived, however, as Harvey and Cox dialed long distance to spark a 12-5 jaunt that gave the home team a 26-22 advantage and sitting up Limestone's decisive run.
Cox paced the Falcons with 18 points on 4-of-9 (44.4%) shooting from behind the arc to go along with three assists and three steals. Harvey chipped in 16 points, a team-high eight boards and three steals. Caudill rounded out the double digit scorers for Pfeiffer as she finished the evening with 12 points.
Young finished with 20 points on 6-of-14 (42.9%) shooting in addition to three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. West and Mitchell finished with a game-high nine rebounds to go along with seven points and six points, respectively. Pace contributed five assists while Robinson chipped in nine points, six boards and two blocked shots.
Pfeiffer returns to the hardwood on Thursday night traveling to Converse for a 6:00 p.m. tip.