The Lady Railsplitters erased a 12-point second-half deficit but came up empty down the stretch, as they fell to the Catawba College Indians, 60-56, in South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball action in the regular-season finale Saturday night in Harrogate.
With the loss, Lincoln Memorial University (14-14, 7-11 SAC) locked up the No. 8 seed for the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament, knotting a match up with top-seeded Anderson University Trojans Wednesday evening in Anderson, South Carolina.
At the conclusion of the contest, the Lady Railsplitters honored their three seniors — Kelsey Bradford, Ralissa Nelson and Mariah Richardson, playing in their final game at LMU.
The Lady Railsplitters struggled mightily on the offensive end in the opening half of play, as they netted only six of their 24 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes to go into the break facing a 33-24 deficit.
The Indians struck first in the second stanza, as Chloe Bully drained a three-pointer from a step behind the line to push Catawba out to a 36-24 lead with 17:18 to play.
Over the next five minutes, the Lady Railsplitters answered with a resounding 13-2 run, capped with a three-pointer by Kalasia Green at the 12:10 mark to cut the deficit to one. The Lady Railsplitters continued to face a one-possession deficit until Green netted back-to-back scores to push LMU atop the scoreboard at 43-40 with 9:43 to play.
The Indians knotted the game in the next possession with a three ball, but LMU pressed back out to a four-point advantage following buckets from Mariah Richardson and Green.
At the 4:34 mark, the Lady Railsplitters assumed their largest lead of the night, as Kelsey Bradford drained a layup to propel LMU to a 51-45 advantage. However, the last four minutes of the contest would go in favor of the Indians, as they outscored the Lady Railsplitters 15-5 over that stretch to capture a 60-56 victory in Tex Turner Arena.
Despite a stingy defense which limited the Indians to only a 27.3 percent mark from the field for the game, the Lady Railsplitters came up empty in the finale of the regular season.
LMU saw nearly all of their scoring output come from the three-headed attack of Kelsey Bradford, Kalasia Green and MaRanda Boddie, as they combined for 41 of Lincoln Memorial’s 56 points. Bradford led that trio with 16 points and narrowly missed recording a double-double with nine rebounds.
MaRanda Boddie would tally a double-double in the contest, as she ripped down a game-high 11 boards to go along with 12 points and four blocks. Kalasia Green struggled from the field with a five-for-12 mark but notched 13 points all told in the contest.
Haley Nelson sparked the Lady Railsplitters off the bench with nine points, all of which came on three first-half three-pointers.
Turnovers plagued the Lady Railsplitters in the losing effort, as they committed 21 miscues which were swung into 21 points for the Indians. LMU would, however, put in a stellar clip from the charity stripe, draining 14 of their 15 attempts.
Catawba was led by the magnificent performance of Chloe Bully, as she netted a game-high 22 points on eight-for-18 shooting from the field to spearhead the Indians’ win on the road. Taylor May added 10 points and eight rebounds, while Antionette McPhail notched nine points and 10 rebounds, headlining a 46-44 advantage for the Indians on the glass.
The Lady Railsplitters finished the game with a slight advantage in the paint, as they outscored the Indians 24-20 inside the square. Lincoln Memorial also notched six fast break points and held Catawba scoreless in that category.
Lincoln Memorial will now direct their attention to postseason play, as they are scheduled to kickoff the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament Wednesday evening.
The Lady Railsplitters earned the No. 8 seed, setting up a battle in Anderson, South Carolina in the quarterfinal round with the winner earning a spot in the semifinals, set to be played in Greenville, South Carolina.