NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Spring Hill College women's basketball team lost a nonconference contest with the Southern University-New Orleans (SUNO) Lady Knights by the score of 55-50 at the Castle on Thursday evening.
The undefeated Lady Knights (10-0) jumped out to a quick start with a 14-2 lead just five minutes into the contest and then built their advantage out to 16 points at 22-6 at the 11 minute mark.
Spring Hill would regroup in the latter stages of the first half and twice cut the deficit down to nine points but the Lady Knights' Lydia Ross made one-of-two free throws before the intermission to make it a 32-22 SUNO lead at the break.
SUNO kept the Badgers at arm's length with a double-digit lead for most of the second half, but Spring Hill whittled the score down to seven points at 51-44 with two free throws by sophomore center Alexis McPhail of West Frankfort, Ill., with five minutes remaining.
After being down by as much as 14 in the second half a furious comeback attempt by the Badgers cut the score to 51-46, but a crucial charging call on freshman guard Bria Bohanon of Ponchatoula, La., gave the momentum back to the Lady Knights with just 2:16 remaining.
A steal by sophomore guard Kristin Rogers of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., led to a layup by sophomore forward Jackie Higgenbotham of Birmingham, Ala., to make the score 53-50 with just 7 seconds remaining, but Savannah Lerille sank two free throws at the other end to ice the game for SUNO with 2 seconds showing on the clock.
Senior center Kimarie Bock scored a game-high 15 points and Higgenbotham added 11 rebounds to pace the Badger effort.
Ross scored 13 points for SUNO and Christine Conners contributed 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Lady Knights. Ashley Williams also pulled down 10 boards for SUNO.
Overall, the Badgers shot 33.3% (19-57) from the field including 20% (2-10) from beyond the 3-point line. The Badgers committed 24 turnovers under the pressure of 14 SUNO steals, but SHC slightly out-rebounded the Lady Knights 45-43.
SUNO went just 18-of-64 from the field (28.1%) and was 2-of-12 (16.7%) from 3-point land as a team, but made 17-of -23 (73.9%) free throws whereas SHC took just 15 free throws and made 10 (66.7%). The Badger defense forced SUNO into 18 turnovers with eight steals.
Spring Hill (5-7) will next travel to Chicago, Ill., for the St. Xavier University Christmas Tournament on December 27-29. The Badgers will open the festivities against the host and No. 5 rated St. Xavier Cougars (7-2) at 7 p.m. of the first day.