TIGERVILLE, SC- North Greenville's women's basketball team opened the season with a close loss to Tusculum College Tuesday night at Hayes Gymnasium. The Pioneers held off the Crusaders to preserve a 77-72 victory. Tusculum guard Ashli Oliver led all scorers with 18 points. Brooke Waddell added 11 for the Pioneers. The Crusaders were led by Audrey Toscano, who had 16 points and five rebounds. Two other Crusaders scored in double-figures, as Amber Bramlett and Allison Robinson went for 14 and 13 respectively.
Tusculum got out to an early lead and kept it until Allison Robinson tied the game with just over five minutes remaining in the first half. Then, the Crusaders took their first lead of the game when Robinson hit another jumper a few minutes later. The Pioneers would hold a one-point advantage going into halftime.
Just over two minutes into the second half, the Pioneers went on a 10-1 run to gain their largest lead of the night at ten. North Greenville pulled cut the lead to 58-59 on two Robin Warner free throws with nine minutes remaining in the game. North Greenville would not get any closer the rest of the game as the Pioneers held on to win 77-72.
The Pioneers and Crusaders were close in several statistical categories. Tusculum scored 17 points off turnovers to North Greenville's 15. North Greenville edged Tusculum by 2 points in second chance points. The Pioneer bench scored 22 points to the Crusaders' 20. North Greenville won the battle of the paint, though, outscoring the Pioneers 32-26. Tusculum outshot the Crusaders 43.9% to 40.4%.
Tusculum moves to 1-0 on the season, while North Greenville starts 0-1. The Crusaders will be back in action Thursday night as they take on Brevard at 5:30 p.m.