Paine women’s coach Willie Adams wanted his young squad to play difficult non-conference competition.
So the Lady Lions endured a rough stretch of early losses to get to a turning point Saturday afternoon.
Ashley Watts scored a career-high 26 points as Paine rallied in the second half for a 76-63 win over Edward Waters.
“I was trying to get them ready for the conference schedule,” said Adams, who has seven underclassmen on his 11-player roster. “We’re pretty young. So one way to help them grow up was to play tough opponents.”
Paine (2-6) shot 54 percent in the second half and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Lady Lions are off until Dec. 27, when they return to practice for three days before playing host to Coastal Georgia. When Paine restarts its basketball campaign, the team will practice inside its new arena on campus – the team won’t play its first official game there until Jan. 5.
“I can’t wait,” Adams said. “It’s been hard trying to find places to practice.”
Edward Waters led 35-27 at halftime, but Paine shut down the Lady Tigers in the second half, holding Edward Waters to 26 percent shooting after intermission, including a 1 for 11 effort from the perimeter.
The Lady Lions took the lead for good at 38-36 when Watts knocked down a pair of technical foul shots. Watts later pushed the lead to six when she swished a three from the right with 9:11 remaining.
Watts shot 11 for 12 from the foul line and added five assists. Ariel Brown recorded 16 points and 11 boards for Paine, while Kiara Farley added 11 points.
Tiffany Tolbert led Edward Waters with 21 points.