HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Spring Hill College women's basketball team bowed to the William Carey University Lady Crusaders 63-52 on Thursday evening at Clinton Gymnasium.
The first half was a back-and forth affair as neither team could claim the momentum and the squads traded the lead six times in the first 15 minutes of play. Spring Hill briefly took a 3-point advantage at 10-7 just 10 minutes into the period, but Carey answered to take a 6-point lead five minutes later at 19-13.
Senior forward Lynleigh Hughes of Hammond, La., hit two free throws and followed them up with a steal and a layup to cut the deficit to two points at 5:02, but WCU rebuilt an 8-point bulge at 26-18 with 2:30 left on the halftime clock and took a 30-22 lead into the locker rooms.
Carey opened the second half with a 5-0 run to grow the lead to 13 points with just 90 seconds off the scoreboard. By the 9:37 mark, the Badgers trailed the Lady Crusaders by 19 points at 46-27.
Spring Hill mounted a rally with a 2-minute, 8-point run to slice the lead to just six at 51-45 with 4:34 showing, but the hole would prove too deep for the Badgers as the Lady Crusaders held on for the 62-53 win.
Hughes led Spring Hill with 13 points and five rebounds while freshman forward Sha Sha Buchanan of Mobile's McGill-Toolen Catholic High School added 10 points for the Badgers.
TeAnna Carter led all scorers with 17 points, Megan Reynolds put in 15, and Shareka Hunt added 11 points and nine rebounds for Carey.
The Badgers shot 32% (16-50) from the field and 20% (2-10) from 3-point territory. Spring Hill was also out-rebounded by the Lady Crusaders 39-27. SHC forced Carey into 26 turnovers.
For Carey (7-11, 3-3 SSAC West), the Lady Crusaders shot 45.1% (23-51) and 30.8% (4-13) from beyond the 3-point line while forcing Spring Hill into 19 turnovers.
Spring Hill (8-15, 1-5 SSAC West) will travel to New Orleans on Saturday to face Jesuit rival Loyola University (13-8, 2-3 SSAC West) at 3 p.m. in The Den.
Thursday's match will be part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight (JBS) Project that uses Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. The JBS Project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Each of the 28 is dedicated to strong academics and teaching women and men to serve others and live a faith that does justice.
Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. The Jesuit educational mission began in Europe approximately 500 years ago.