2018-03-12 / Sports

Opening Round Exit

STAFF REPORTS

Who could blame the Limstone women’s basketball team for feeling a little squeamish when the NCAA Southeast brackets were announced last week.

For the second straight year, the Saints drew Lander, a team that it had lost to in 19 of its last 20 meetings, in the opening round.

Now, you know why.

Lander controlled the game from the start before pulling away for an 84-53 decision Friday at the Holt Fieldhouse on the campus of Carson Newman University.

Limestone’s Keidra Smith tallied a game-high 16 points to go with seven boards, while Jasmine Richardson finished up with 13 points and Aaliyah Davis added seven points, nine boards and five blocks.

Limestone dug itself into an early hole with 10 turnovers in the opening period, and it was never able to fully recover.

Lander opened up a double-digit advantage behind a 12-0 run to end the first quarter, and that margin would hold up the rest of the way.

A layup from Davis and an old-fashion three-point play by Smith gave the Saints an early advantage, but Lander would counter with a 9-2 spurt over the next few minutes to open up a 13-7 lead with 4:34 left in the first quarter.

The Bearcats ended the opening quarter with a 12-0 spurt to grab a commanding 25-10 cushion. Limestone went 4-of- 9 from the field over the first 10 minutes of play, but turned the ball over 10 times against Lander’s pressure.

Limestone started the second with a 6-2 jaunt, cutting the margin to 27- 16 on a pull-up jumper by Taylour Hunter, but the Bearcats answered with an identical 6-2 run on the other end to regain a 14-point edge.

Jayla Morrow then hit a deep two for the Saints, but Lander would lead 34-20 at the media timeout.

A layup by Davis and a runner in the lane from Imani Williams closed the gap to 34-24 with 4:08 left in the half, but the Bearcats made good use of the charity stripe down the stretch before a three-pointer just before the buzzer made it a 17- point affair at the halftime break.

The Saints would get just a single field goal over the final four minutes of the third quarter, a layup by Richardson at the 2:32-mark, as the Bearcats took a commanding 24-point lead into the fourth.

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