MARIETTA, Ga. – The Spring Hill College women's basketball team began a four-game road trip on Friday night by taking a 58-57 conference loss at Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) at the Hornets Nest despite a valiant rally over the game's final three minutes.
Junior forward Jackie Higgenbotham of Birmingham, Ala., scored the first six points of the night for the Badgers as Spring Hill took an early 8-2 lead in four minutes of play.
The Runnin' Hornets (2-11, 1-3 SSAC) responded to take a 12-10 lead with 13:23 left in the half off a successful conversion of a bucket-and-the-foul by Chase Morgan of SPSU.
From there, the two teams traded each other bucket-for-bucket over the next four minutes with the score standing at 16-16 at the 9:14 mark.
A critical 12-2 run by the Hornets over the final 3½ minutes of the period staked SPSU to a 35-25 lead at the intermission.
The Badgers regrouped in the locker room and came out of the break to score the first seven points and cut the deficit to 35-32 in just two minutes of play.
A short 2-point jumper by freshman guard Elissa VandeWaa from Spanish Fort, Ala., then pulled the Badgers even at 47-47 with 8:35 on the clock.
After falling behind 54-49, the Badgers launched a furious comeback with an 8-point run capped by a 3-pointer from the left side by sophomore guard Bria Bohanon of Ponchatoula, La., that made it 57-54 in the Badgers' favor with two minutes to play.
A jumper from the left elbow by Ashlie Billingslea with 30 seconds left proved to be the game-winner for the Hornets, however, as a final 3-pointer by freshman Badger point guard Bethany Collins of Apex, N.C., failed to find its mark following a missed Hornet free throw with 4 seconds showing.
Higgenbotham led the Badgers with 13 points while junior center April Bradford from Pensacola, Fla., achieved a double-double performance for the eighth time this season as she scored 10 points with 12 rebounds. Bohanon also scored 12 points for Spring Hill.
Billingslea paced the Hornets with 20 points and Dominique Smith contributed 11 points for SPSU.
Spring Hill shot 39.6% (21-53) from the field including 25% (3-12) from 3-point territory. The Badgers lost 21 turnovers against eight SPSU steals.
The Hornets finished the night with a 37.9% (25-66) shooting percentage and were 27.3% (3-11) in 3-point attempts. SPSU won the rebounding battle 42-39 and lost 19 turnovers in front of six Badger steals.
Spring Hill (5-7, 1-4) next visits Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Ga., for a conference match with the Lady Barons (6-6, 1-2 SSAC) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.