The Spring Hill College women's basketball team opened the 2011-12 conference home slate with a 69-68 loss to the Brenau University Golden Tigers on Friday evening at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center.
Spring Hill held as much as a nine-point lead in the first half at 24-15 with just seven minutes remaining in the period, but sloppy ball handling and numerous Badger fouls resulted in the Tigers storming back to tie the game at 27 at the break.
In the second half, the Golden Tigers (6-5, 1-2 SSAC East) built out a 43-38 cushion in the first five minutes, but the Badgers regrouped to take a 57-50 advantage with 8:38 left on the clock.
A 14-point run by Brenau over the next four minutes, however, gave the Tigers a 65-59 lead with just 2:30 remaining.
Freshman guard Elissa VandeWaa of Spanish Fort, Ala., used a layup followed by a half court steal and a break away basket to cut the Spring Hill deficit to just 69-68 with 20 seconds to go, but a final 3-point attempt by junior Jackie Higgenbotham of Birmingham failed to fall through the hoop for SHC as the horn sounded.
Junior guard LaSheena Nation of Hanceville, Ala., scored 21 in the loss while freshman point guard Bethany Collins of Apex, N.C., added 12 and junior center April Bradford of Pensacola, Fla., had 11 points and five rebounds.
Nikki Reed scored 19 for Brenau to lead five Tigers who scored in double figures on the night.
The Badgers shot 40% (24-60) from the field were 6-of-18 (33.3%) from 3-point land while Brenau shot 46% (23-50) and 27.3% (3-11) from long distance.
Spring Hill suffered 16 turnovers in the face of six Brenau steals while Brenau fumbled away the ball 26 times against 14 SHC steals. Brenau, however, dominated the boards 42-27.
Spring Hill (3-4, 1-2 SSAC West) will next face the 15th-ranked Lee University Lady Flames (8-0, 3-0 SSAC East) in conference match at the Outlaw Recreation Center on Saturday at 3 p.m.