AIKEN — A sloppy second half nearly erased a dominant first, but the No. 18 USC Aiken women’s basketball team managed to escape with a 71-63 win over Anderson on Monday night.
Coach Mike Brandt couldn’t help but question his team after the game.
“I asked them, ‘Did we have late-night movie night or something last night?’ ” he said. “Tonight we just looked like we had two or three players in la-la land; kind of zombies out there.”
With the academic part of the semester over and the campus relatively empty, the convocation center lacked its energy, which eventually carried over onto the court. Full court presses from both teams slowed the pace, favoring the Lady Trojans. Anderson (5-4) ended the first half on a 9-0 run to trail by six. Only eight minutes earlier, it had been down 21.
“We had a good lead, but then we had some defensive breakdowns,” sophomore forward Porsha Martin said. “That allowed them to take advantage of some things, and we were letting them hang around.”
Guard Brittany Bowen and forward Tiffani Moody were out because of injuries, and starters Kayla Harris and Daniela Tarailo struggled offensively, combining for a
6-for-22 effort from the field.
Martin, one of four Lady Pacers to finish with double-digit scoring, provided a much-needed spark by coming off the bench to tally 10 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes of playing time.
The Lady Pacers (7-1) nearly saw their comfortable first-half lead completely dissolve when Anderson junior Amanda Parris hit a 3-pointer with 5:55 left to cut USC Aiken’s lead to 58-56. The home team responded with an 11-0 run over the next five minutes, sealing the win.
Anderson’s Emily Willoughby went 5 for 8 from the 3-point line for a game-high 15 points.