Tyler Waddell – Sports Information Graduate Assistant
GAFFNEY, SC – The Pfeiffer University women's basketball team put No. 1-seeded Limestone on upset watch by competing blow-for-blow early on, but ultimately could not keep the pace with the Saints, losing 69-52 in the quarterfinals of the Conference Carolinas Tournament.
With the loss, the Falcons conclude the 2016-17 season with a 8-19 (6-16) record. Now with a streak of 20 straight wins, Limestone advances to the semifinals and will play No. 4 Barton on Thursday.
After trading baskets for the first eight minutes of the first quarter, Pfeiffer was able to reel off a series of successful scoring opportunities to put Limestone in an unfamiliar position: down double digits. The Falcons connected with the rim in seven of eight shot attempts, including six in a row, to cap off an unprecedented 18-5 run for a 32-22 lead at the 6:32 mark of the second frame.
At this point, Pfeiffer was shooting over 70 percent from the field.
But it was at that point where Saints coach Corey Fox made the adjustment that changed the course of the game, switching to a 2-3 defense and putting pressure on Pfeiffer's guards to spread the ball around and take uncomfortable shots.
Though LC had its own share of offensive inefficiencies, it was able to prevent Pfeiffer from putting another point on the board before heading into the locker room, down 32-31. Nonetheless, the momentum had shifted in its favor.
That was reflected in the second half box score. Limestone blew the game wide open by outscoring No. 8-seeded Pfeiffer 22-5 in the third quarter and did not have any issues keeping its lead in the fourth, claiming its third victory in as many tries over the Falcons on the season.
After shooting just 3-for-9 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes, the Saints responded by knocking down 8-of-15 (53.3) from long-range in the second half, all while holding the Falcons to 4-of-23 (17.4) in such category for the game – a byproduct of a stifling zone defense.
Limestone was led by Jasmine Kearse's double-double performance of 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Taylour Hunter was the game's second-leading scorer with 16. Jasmine Richardson added 11 points.
Meg Pritchard finished her final game as a Falcon with 10 points and five boards. She ranks 8th all-time in Pfeiffer career scoring, producing 1,182 points (15.2 per game) in just three years as a Misenheimer resident.
Sydni Bickford contributed eight points and two steals, connecting on multiple three-point attempts for the 20th time in 2016-17. Her 66 made deep balls is tied for 9th in Pfeiffer history for a single season.
Lauren Janka had three blocks tonight, bringing her total to 51 on the year as she finishes her career with 89 total, which is the 4th-most in program history.
Ariana Tillman added nine points and nine rebounds, coming just shy of what would have been her second double-double performance of the season.