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).”


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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