RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Meredith College basketball team challenged the visiting Greensboro Pride throughout the 40 minutes in Saturday's USA South action but fell short in a 78-73 loss. Kate Perko and Kimberly Schuh combined for 41 points with Perko leading the game with 19 rebounds.
The Pride pulled ahead by 12 midway through the first quarter, but MCBB chased down Greensboro through the rest of the period to trail by just two heading into the second stanza. Consecutive buckets from Madison Gladwell and Schuh early in the second gave the Angels their largest lead of the game during the first 45 seconds of play. But leading scorer Ashley Free dropped in two back-to-back for the visitors to swing the momentum back to Greensboro.
Schuh evened the score on two of her 11 free throws at the 4:33 mark, but GC's Destiny Timberlake hit two field goals to spread the gap back to five. The Angels hit six free throws down through the rest of the half to hold the deficit to six heading into the intermission.
Greensboro extended their lead to double-digits through the first five minutes of the third period, but the Avenging Angels continued to chase down opportunities to keep the Pride within view. Lindsay Bell notched three buckets to pull her team back to within six, but MCBB dropped back to a 13-point deficit heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Schuh stepped up to the line early in the quarter for a pair of freebies, and Perko hit the first of her three field goals with help from Bell to cut the lead back to a single digit. A pair of blocks from Perko slowed down the Pride until she was whistled for a moving screen violation which led to two points from Free. Gladwell grabbed an offensive rebound to give Bell a bucket, and Zaina Hook picked up a steal to return the ball to the Angels. Schuh kept the possession alive with another offensive board, and Bell netted a three-pointer to pull MCBB back to within six with just under six minutes to go.
The Pride called for a break in the action and managed a quick two. After a missed attempt from the Angels, Gladwell picked up a steal in the open court and drove down for a bucket with less then five minutes on the clock.
Five quick points from Greensboro did not discourage the Avenging Angels, who scored the next three field goals to pull to within five with 2:44 left in the game. Neither team found the rim during the next minute of play, but Gladwell drained a three with 38 seconds left to leave Meredith trailing by just four. Free made one-of-two free throws on the other end, but Gladwell cut the deficit to three with a quick two for the Angels. Meredith fouled with less than a second left on the clock, leaving Head Coach LaQuanda Quick with a timeout to outline a play for her team. Bell missed a solid attempt, but the Avenging Angels left the court knowing they were in the game through the final buzzer.
Bell notched 17 points, and Gladwell finished with 13 to go along with seven rebounds and as many assists. Bell and Hook had three assists apiece with a combined three steals, and Daia Dawkins grabbed four rebounds with one assist and one steal. Schuh matched Perko with her own double-double, grabbing 12 rebounds in the loss.
Free tallied 31 points for the Pride, and Shaiajah Dailey dished out five assists.
The Avenging Angels head to Danville, Virginia, Tuesday night for a 7:30 p.m. match-up with the Cougars. AU captured the first game of this year's series by just three points after holding an 18-point lead midway through the final period.
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Feb. 4, as MCBB hosts William Peace in a Block Out Pancreatic Cancer event. The USA South's Randy Tuggle, head coach of the Greensboro Pride, was diagnosed last February with pancreatic cancer, and his fight continues. Follow this link for an interview with Coach Tuggle on D3Hoops to share his story. His interview starts around the 48 minute mark. Fans may contribute to Coach Tuggle's medical expenses through a GoFundMe page, and any extra funds will be directed to a pancreatic research group. Please also consider wearing purple to the game to show your support.
Additionally, the Avenging Angels will recognize the 2018 volleyball and 2019 lacrosse championship teams at the half following a return performance from the Meredith College Dance Crew.