Women’s basketball wins Battle by the Marsh, fall in home openers

Tirae Stevens, Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team celebrates their win over Savannah State in the annual “Battle by the Marsh,” an exhibition game between two crosstown rivals — Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 (Armstrong Communications)

The Armstrong State women’s basketball team went 1-2 in games during the week of November 7-13.

On Monday, November 7, the Lady Pirates travelled across town to face Division 1 rivals Savannah State University in the fifth annual “Battle by the Marsh.” The Tigers held the lead during the entire contest up until the last four seconds of the fourth quarter, when a basket made by junior Mercedes Jenkins tied up the score at 63-all and forced an overtime period.

The Tigers scored the first five points of the overtime period, but solid defense on the part of the Pirates held Savannah State scoreless for the remainder of the time. Armstrong State took the clear lead in the last minute of overtime thanks to a layup from junior Lauren Woods. Jenkins then went 3-for-4 from the free throw line to help the Pirates clinch the 72-68 win. This victory marks the first time the Pirates have won the Battle by the Marsh since the inaugural game during the 2012-13 season.

“A win like this is remarkable, and something our program has been missing for the past few years,” Armstrong head coach Fala Bullock said. “I am very proud of how the girls battled back in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and in overtime to get the win.”

Armstrong State returned home on Friday, Nov. 11, to host the PBC-SAC Challenge. Four teams competed on campus throughout the weekend: Armstrong State, fellow PBC member Clayton State University, SAC regular season champions and nationally-ranked Anderson University, and SAC tournament champions Wingate University. The Pirates first took on the Wingate Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 11.

Armstrong State led by one after the first quarter, 16-15, but Wingate used a late basket by Caroline Averette to take a one-point lead into halftime, 33-32. Junior Machala Raymonville hit three three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Pirates open up a seven-point lead in the third quarter, but Wingate responded with a 7-0 run to tie things back up at 47-all. A three-point play by senior Brigitta Barta helped the Pirates take a two-point lead, 52-50, at the third quarter break.

It was a back and forth battle between the Pirates and the Bulldogs during the fourth quarter. Two free throws from senior Jessica Doyle would give the Pirates the lead with less than 40 seconds left in the game, but two Bulldog free throws would tie the game up again. A jumper from Caroline Averette would give Wingate the lead, and the Pirates would be unable to tie things up again as they ultimately fell to Wingate 76-74. Brigitta Barta led the Pirate offense with 21 points, while Doyle picked up 16 points and Raymonville scored 13 points.

The next day, Armstrong State went against Anderson University Trojans, who are ranked number 21 in the nation. The Trojans held commanding lead throughout the course of the game; the only time Armstrong State had a lead over Anderson was in the last 12 seconds of the second quarter due to a layup from Machala Raymonville. The Pirates fell to the Trojans 74-60, putting their record at 0-2 overall.

“Fatigue really got us this weekend,” senior Deundria Clark commented. “We just didn’t play together and I think some of our bodies were tired. But we’re looking to bounce back with these next games.”

Armstrong State travelled to Newberry, South Carolina on Wednesday, November 16 to play the Newberry Wolves. They will return to action at home on Friday, November 18, to host Barton College in the third annual BJ Ford Classic.