Free throws were the difference Saturday as host Charleston Southern made 13-of-14 freebies in the 2nd half to defeat Gardner-Webb, 66-63, in women’s college basketball play.
The loss drops the Runnin’ Bulldogs to 17-10 overall, 11-6 in Big South Conference play. Charleston Southern is 12-14, 7-10 BSC.
Alexus Hill shot 8-of-11 from the floor and scored a game-high 20 points to lead GWU. Olivia Parker had 15 points and 14 rebounds, her 4th-straight double-double, and Candace Brown finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds.
Connersville native Tierra Huntsman had 3 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal and 4 personal fouls in 24 minutes of play.
After a 1st quarter that ended with the teams tied at 16, the Buccaneers scored 13 straight points to open a 29-16 advantage at the 4:30 mark of period 2. The Runnin’ Bulldogs rallied some, but trailed, 34-26, at halftime.
GWU responded with a 13-4 run to begin the 3rd quarter, forging a 39-38 lead on a 3-pointer by Hill. Coach Rick Reeves’ team made 9-of-17 shots during the period (52.9 percent) and led, 49-45 entering the final stanza.
A free throw by Huntsman with 5:54 to play gave Gardner-Webb a 57-52 lead, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs hit a drought, failing to score for 4 minutes, 33 seconds.
Consecutive baskets by Ke’Asia Jackson and Brianna Lakes gave Charleston Southern a 60-59 lead with just under a minute to play, and 6 straight free throws in the final 37 seconds, 4 by Alyssa Mann, nailed down the victory.
Alecia Hardy led a balanced CSU attack with 11 points, Shauntavia Dobson, Mann and Jackson added 10 apiece.
Gardner-Webb hosts UNC Asheville Tuesday (7 p.m.) in the team’s final home game of the regular season. Ashville, 21-4 overall, leads the Big South Conference with a 14-2 record.
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