NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Spring Hill College women's basketball team used an accurate outside shooting game combined with a powerful inside rebounding effort to take home a 70-57 nonconference win over the University of New Orleans (UNO) Privateers on Tuesday evening at Lakefront Arena.
SHC opened the game with a layup and a 3-point basket by freshman forward Cassandra Mitchell of Apex, N.C., for an early 5-0 advantage and then quickly built out a 7-2 bulge with five minutes gone in the contest.
Later in the half, the Badgers made it a 19-14 SHC lead by dropping in three 3-point buckets in consecutive trips down the court with a long distance score by junior Jackie Higgenbotham of Birmingham, Ala., followed by two treys from junior LaSheena Nation of Hanceville, Ala., with 9:42 on the clock.
Spring Hill expanded its advantage to 30-21 late in the period when Mitchell converted a nice stutter step fake and drive on the baseline into a basket at the 4 minute mark.
The Badgers held a 34-28 upper hand at the half with Mitchell leading all scorers with 11 points.
UNO (0-2) saw the Badgers come out of the locker room and launch a 10-2 run as the SHC advantage grew to 44-30 just four minutes into the second half.
With 10 minutes remaining, UNO rallied to cut the deficit to 50-46, but the Badgers responded with three crucial defensive rebounds that led to three fast break baskets and reestablished a double-digit Badger bulge at 56-46 with eight minutes left.
The lead expanded to as much as 66-50 with 2:30 remaining as the Badgers used solid defense and free throws to put the game on ice over the final minutes of play.
Mitchell led the Badger's with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double/double at SHC. Junior center April Bradford of Pensacola, Fla., also rang up a double/double effort with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Nation added 14 points to the SHC totals.
As a team, the Badgers shot 43.3% (26-60) from the floor with a 43.8% (7-16) night from the 3-point line.
Spring Hill out-rebounded UNO 53-38, but lost 29 turnovers in the face of 17 steals by the Privateers while UNO lost 17 fumbles against nine Badger thefts.
The Privateers were paced by Yosha Watson with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Mechel'le Thomas added 12 points for UNO. UNO shot just 25.8% (16-62) and made none of their four 3-point attempts.
The victory marked the first career win for SHC Head Coach Karen C. McConico.
Spring Hill (1-1) travels to Cleveland, Ga., on Friday to face the Truett-McConnell College Bears (1-1) at 5:30 p.m. EST.