USC Aiken women get revenge on UNC Pembroke

USC Aiken 58, UNC Pembroke 44

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AIKEN — This was how it was supposed to go the first time around.

After falling on the road a month earlier at UNC Pembroke, the 15th-ranked USC Aiken women found revenge Saturday night in a 58-44 win over the Lady Braves.

With “UNC Payback” written on the Lady Pacers’ locker room chalkboard, USC Aiken (19-3, 12-2 Peach Belt) took full advantage of the second chance, opening up a big first-half lead with a 15-0 run.

Though leading scorers Hannah DeGraffinreed and Kayla Harris struggled offensively – they combined to hit just 7 of 21 shots and went 5 for 12 from the free-throw line – Lindsay Sundberg came off the bench to provide the spark. The senior forward hit all four of her 3-point attempts in the first half and finished with a game-high 17.

“Some of our best players probably didn’t have their best game here, but that’s the mark of a good team and a championship team when other players can pick up the slack like what Lindsay Sundberg did today,” coach Mike Brandt said. “I know Hannah DeGraffinreed struggled a little bit from the field and wasn’t on her game. Kayla struggled a little bit and fouled out. When your two all-conference players are not playing their best and you find a way to win by 14 points you’ve got to be satisfied as a team.”

Playing without leading scorer Courtney Bolton, UNC Pembroke (11-11, 8-5) had no answer this time for the Lady Pacers, who remained a game behind Lander in the conference’s East Division.

The Lady Braves missed 14 of their first 15 shots and finished the first half with just 15 points.

A pair of strong defensive efforts forced poor shooting nights from both teams – 31.3 percent from UNC Pembroke and 36.1 percent from USC Aiken – and mirrored their previous meeting when the conference opponents were held to 30.4 and 35.4 percent shooting from the field.

But the Lady Pacers were able to avoid a repeat upset thanks to a better defensive effort and Sundberg’s big game.

“It was definitely payback,” she said. “We watched the film this morning and it just made me (more mad).”

USC AIKEN 58, UNC PEMBROKE 44

PLAY OF THE GAME: Lindsay Sundberg hit back-to-back 3-pointers and added a shot clock buzzer-beating layup for her own personal 8-0 run in the middle of the team’s larger 15-0 run in the first half.

STAR OF THE GAME: Sundberg went 6 for 9 from the field, 4 for 5 from the 3-point line and 1 for 2 at the foul line for her game-high 17 points. She also added two assists and four rebounds.

NEXT: USC Aiken at Augusta State, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

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