BARBOURVILLE, KY (WLAF) – Day one of the Union College Classic, hosted by fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference member Union College, got underway on Friday evening, and tipping-off the event in game one were 20th-ranked Bryan women’s basketball and River States Athletic Conference school Alice Lloyd College (Ky.). The Lions came out of the gate roaring for a double-digit lead near the end of the first quarter, maintained the comfortable advantage through most of the second quarter, and ended all hopes in the third and fourth frames in creating a deficit as high as 32 points. Bryan’s impressive collective team effort overwhelmed Alice Lloyd in helping the Lions collect a dominating 102-72 victory in their first official road contest of the season. The win lifted Bryan to 2-0 to begin the year while dropping Alice Lloyd to 0-1.
The Lions’ tremendous performance wasn’t the result of one or two players, but instead, the team saw major contributions from several individuals, including five separate players who posted double-digits in the scoring column. Deandra Luna ended with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 3-of-4 from behind the arc, and a perfect 4-of-4 at the foul line. Luna also led with eight assists and corralled the second-most rebounds with seven. The trio of Karli Combs, former Campbell Lady Cougar Sarah Cain (photo above), and Shayla Ludy tallied 17 points apiece. Cain grabbed a team-best eight boards, Ludy finished with five rebounds, and both Cain and Ludy matched each other with three steals. Destiny Kassner compiled 16 points sinking 7-of-13 in the outing while tacking on five rebounds and a pair of assists. Others to make the scoring column were Myah Parlier with five, Kaitlynn Hennessee with four, all three of Tristan McClellan, Tori Burnette, and Morgan Hembree with two, respectively, and Faith Simmons with one. Separate notables included Hennessee’s five rebounds and team-high four steals and McClellan’s four assists.
Bryan shot 45.6 in the game, outshining Alice Lloyd’s 31.8 percent. The Lions were scoring early and often, delivering 19 makes on 41 looks in the first half for a 46.3 shooting percentage at the break. Bryan also added six treys in each half and took advantage at the foul line, capitalizing on 6-of-7 free throws through the first two quarters and 12-of-15 in the final two. Even though the Eagles won the rebounding battle 45-40, the Lions made up for it with 13 takeaways and 22 assists compared to Alice Lloyd’s seven steals and mere 12 assists.
It took two minutes before Kassner dropped in a bucket for the first points of the game. Cain followed closely behind with a three-pointer, Combs came next with a score in the paint, and Kassner provided another basket that resulted off a turnover that put the Lions on top 9-3 near the six and a half minute mark. Just when the Eagles began to soar back and trim the difference down to one point at 11-10, the Lions answered back in remarkable fashion thanks to a 10-0 run. Ludy sparked the rally with a triple, Luna scored in the paint after McClellan came away with a steal, Hennessee stole the ball and went coast-to-coast, and Ludy capped the run with another three-pointer to position Bryan on top 21-10. Two made foul shots in the last few seconds of the first quarter brought the margin back to single-digits at 24-15, as the two teams headed to quarter number two.
The start of the second frame consisted of two runs, beginning with Bryan developing a 16-point cushion around three minutes in, 34-18. Over the next two and a half minutes, Alice Lloyd made it an eight-point ballgame at 36-28, but it would be the last time the Eagles would come that close to the Lions. A pair of baskets by Ludy, Combs producing a make in the paint, and Cain knocking down a look from outside helped Bryan take control 45-29. At the end of the half, the Lions owned a 13-point edge over the Eagles, 50-37.
Bryan saw their first 20-point lead seven minutes into the third quarter at 67-47. The explosive offense proved too much for Alice Lloyd to handle, as Bryan tacked on a pair of three’s in the final minutes of the period off the hands of Ludy and Combs while Luna successfully completed an and-one play that increased the Lions’ lead to 26 points, 80-54, as the two teams entered the last quarter.
Another and-one play by Luna and a three-pointer by Combs when the fourth period unfolded surged Bryan ahead to their largest lead of the game at 86-54. On two other occasions, the Lions saw a 32-point gap, at 91-59 and again 93-61, before the team cruised ahead for the 30-point downing of the Eagles at the conclusion of the quarter, 102-72.
Bryan takes on Bethel University (Ind.) out of the Crossroads League on Saturday, Nov. 2 on the last day of the Union College Classic. The Lions and Pilots are scheduled to meet at 2pm. Bethel is currently 2-1, which includes an upset over No. 25 Indiana University Northwest and most recently a loss to AAC opponent and Classic host Union.
Bryan defeated Bethel by a final of 113 to 102. The Lions improve to 3 & 0. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 11/04/2019-6AM)