CRUSADERS COME UP SHORT IN BID FOR UPSET
Gaffney, S.C.—Timisty Nelson scored a team high 18 points, and the Crusaders held a two point halftime lead, but the 16th ranked Limestone Saints proved too much for North Greenville as they marched to a 76-70 win, to maintain control of the Conference Carolinas top spot.
Nelson also led North Greenville with 9 total rebounds, while going 4-6 from the charity stripe. Alisha Hope also scored in double figures for the Crusaders with 10 points while collecting 4 steals. Tyler Powers also had 4 steals to go along with 8 points. As a team, the Crusaders forced 27 turnovers, including 15 steals. The turnovers translated into 20 points for NGU. NGU’s bench was dominant, outscoring the Limestone bench 26-2.
In a competitive first half, the Saints grabbed an early lead, scoring the first five points of the game. The Crusaders would battle on, and take their first lead of the game with 14:53 left in the game. A 9-0 run fueled by 7 straight Limestone turnovers, gave the Crusaders a 9-5 lead. A three-ball by Young highlighted a string of seven straight markers for Limestone giving the saints a 12-11 lead, but NGU’s Tyler Powers would silence the run with a three-pointer, giving the Crusaders a 14-12 advantage.
The early runs highlighted a half that was marred by struggling offense. The two teams shot less than 50% combined for the half, as the Crusaders edged the Saints, shooting at a 27.3% clip, while Limestone fired a 21.7% performance. Neither team could buy a bucket for a five minute stretch, but an 8-8 free throw performance from Maria Young and Tia Williams would earn Limestone a 20-15 lead with 6:13 left in the half. North Greenville’s offense would perk up over the final five minutes of the period, as the Crusaders capitalized on 5 of their last 9 shots, to take a 26-24 advantage into halftime.
Tyler Powers led the Charge for NGU in the first half, scoring all 8 of her points on 3-6 shooting. She was 2-3 from beyond the arch. The Saints made a living from the charity stripe in the opening 20 minutes, going 12-12. The Crusaders were also impressive capitalizing on 6 of 8 attempts from the free throw line.
The Saints quickly put their offensive struggles behind them in the second half bursting out of the gates, going on a 14-0 run, giving them a 38-26 lead. Holding true to their identity, a scrappy Crusader squad clawed back in the game, going on a 10-2 run, powered by Timisty Nelson’s six points, cutting the Limestone lead to 40-38 with 13:13 left. Limestone’s Maria Young would quickly put an end to the NGU outburst, with a clutch momentum killing three-pointer giving the Saints a 43-38 lead while also sparking another Limestone run. The Saints would connect on 15-23 free throws, to ice their 11th straight win.
Limestone had an impressive four players score in double figures including Maria Young who scored a game high 22 points. Tia Williams scored 19 points and collected 12 rebounds for a double-double, while Stephanie Hayes scored 16 for the Saints. Also in double figures for Limestone was Danielle Dixon who pocketed 15 and a game high 14 rebounds.
The Crusaders fell to 6-12 on the season and 4-10 in Conference Carolinas while the Saints improved to 14-1 in league play and 17-2 overall. The 27 forced turnovers by NGU was a season high for the Saints. The Crusaders will have a couple days to regroup before welcoming Pfeiffer University to Hayes Gymnasium for a 5:30 tip on Thursday night.