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Gordon's Pirates shine early on
kaneetha gordon
Kaneetha Gordon
GREENWOOD, S.C.— Kaneetha Gordon scored 17 points and grabbed a Peach Belt Conference Tournament record 23 rebounds in leading Armstrong Atlantic State (15-13) to a 76-63 win over USC Upstate (11-17) in the opening game of the 2007 PBC Women’s Basketball Tournament at Horne Arena on Wednesday. With their first tournament win since 2003-04, the Lady Pirates advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinal round where they lost 73-70 to PBC regular season champion Clayton State.
Trailing 7-2 in the opening moments, Armstrong went on the first of two crucial first-half runs in their win over Upstate. The Lady Pirates scored 17 of the game’s next 19 points to grab a 19-9 advantage with 11:38 to play on two free throws by Ashley Duhart. USC Upstate, however, responded with a 14-3 run to seesaw back in front 25-24 with 7:11 remaining in the opening stanza on a three-pointer from Courtney Bradley.
AASU’s defense stepped up down the stretch holding the Lady Spartans without a field goal over the final 7:11 of the half, scoring 10-straight as part of an 18-2 run capped off by a Sarah Brown trey with 1:51 on the clock, taking a 46-29 lead at the break.
In the second half, Emily Lovik’s “old-fashioned” three-point play at the 14:10 mark trimmed the deficit to 51-37, but AASU answered with seven-straight points highlighted by an offensive stick-back by Gordon.
USC Upstate made a late run trailing 70-52 with less than four minutes to play, cutting the deficit to single digits at 72-63 with 41 ticks left, but the Lady Pirates posted the 76-63 win.
In a balanced scoring attack, Ameshia Bryant and Tana Griffiths each added eight points for Armstrong Atlantic State while Jasmine Herron and Lindsay Lieneman chipped in seven a piece.
Bradley finished with 17 points, 12 coming in the second half, to go with eight boards to pace the Lady Spartans. Lovik added 16 while Courtney Hawkins scored 13.
Both teams shot less than 38 percent, but AASU owned the glass 58-35 including a 29-14 differential in the second half.
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