The Shorter women’s basketball team made a strong first impression on the Gulf South Conference on Thursday night.
Playing their first game as a member of the conference, the Lady Hakws downed the University of West Alabama, 56-53, at the Winthrop-King Center.
Shorter’s Lynette Harris scored a team-high 17 points, and Kristin Nash added 13 for the Lady Hawks (2-1, 1-0 GSC).
Former Coosa star Ieisha Alexander finished with six points, including a lay-up that put Shorter ahead for good late in the second half. Former Model star Shelby Farrer had two points in the win.
Shorter saw a 16-point first half lead evaporate before closing with a 10-5 run in the final 6:11 of the game to secure the win.
Shorter, which is playing its first season as an NCAA Division II affiliate, used a big first half to put the Lady Tigers in a hole before having to rally in the closing moments.
West Alabama (4-3, 0-1), the defending Gulf South Conference Tournament champions, had no answer for the Lady Hawks' inside-out duo of Harris and Nash in the opening half.
Harris scored seven straight points as part of a 9-0 Shorter run that put the Lady Hawks up 16-6 with 13:58 to go in the opening frame.
A 3-point play by Nash followed by back-to-back layups from Harris made it 23-8 Shorter at 9:13 and the Lady Hawks posted their largest lead of the game at 29-13 at the 6:27 mark of the first half on a Chelsi Matthews layup.
That's when West Alabama made its run.
The Tigers held Shorter scoreless over the final six minutes of the first half while scoring the final 10 points of the frame to pull within 29-23 at half-time. West Alabama's Brittany Weathers, who poured in a game high 22 points on 7-for-23 shooting, led the Tigers' surge, which continued into the second half.
West Alabama grabbed its first lead since 3-2 when Anna Dill nailed a short jumper to put the Tigers up 43-41 with 10:04 to go in the game and Weathers put West Alabama up 48-46 with a free throw at the 6:11 mark.
But Shorter's Karisma Boykin knotted the contest at 48 seconds later with a layup and Ieshia Alexander put the Lady Hawks up to stay with another la-yup following a turnover by Weathers. Harris and Boykin sandwiched buck-ets around a shot clock violation by West Alabama to put Shorter ahead 54-48 with 3:50 to go.
Weathers hit her final jumper of the game with 3:05 left to bring the Tigers within 54-53, but Shorter held West Alabama without a point over the final three minutes and Alexander provided Shorter with a 56-53 cushion with 20 seconds left after a beautiful backdoor cut and feed from Shelby Farrer. West Alabama misfired on two long 3-point attempts in the final seven sec-onds.
Harris and Nash each snagged five rebounds for Shorter. Alexander came off the bench to score six points and Boykin and Peeples chipped in with five apiece. The Lady Hawks, who shot 43 percent for the game, held West Ala-bama to 32 percent shooting – 22 percent in the first half – and 1-for-19 accu-racy from beyond the arc.
Joining Weathers in double figures for West Alabama were Jamie Gunter (14 points) and Tamya Thompson (13).
Shorter returns to Gulf South Conference action on Sunday, December 2 when it travels to in-state rival West Georgia for a 3 pm tip-off in Carrollton.
In other action:
SHORTER MEN 100, WEST ALABAMA 83
For the third game in a row the Shorter Hawks scored in triple digits, this time beating Gulf South Conference rival West Alabama 100-83. The win marks the first conference win for the program as it moves towards being a member of the GSC. The Hawks are now 4-0 at home to start the season.
The first half was played tightly until the 12-minute mark hit, Shorter (5-1, 1-0 GSC) took a tie score and stretched a lead to six points. The Hawks would survive a West Alabama (3-3, 0-1 GSC) run before mounting a second run of their own to establish the 55-43 lead at the break.
At the break, Shorter already had four players scoring in double digits.
The second half saw Shorter never trail while gaining the conference vic-tory.
The Hawks were able to outrebound the Tigers, 49-34, which included grabbing 33 defensive rebounds.
Kenny Leverette pulled down a career-high 15 boards, to go along with 15 points, four assists, and two steals.
Anthony Banks and C.J. Davis each scored 24 points to lead the Hawks. Banks played only 10 minutes in the first half plagued by foul trouble, but still managed to score 12 before the break. Banks would add eight rebounds while going 10-for-15 from the field. Davis did his work from behind the arc going 4-for-7, while also going 10-for-11 from the free throw line. Davis also added four assists.
Dedric Ware scored 18 points, going 3-for-5 from 3, while dishing out three assists.
Brandon Wright, who only missed once from the field, led the bench with 10 points in 18 minutes. Wright went 4-for-5 on the night, including 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
The Hawks hit nine 3-pointers, good enough to convert 47 percent from long range.
Shorter shot 51 percent for the game while holding West Alabama to 43 percent – including 18 percent on 3-point shots in the second half. The Hawks made 27 free throws – 69 percent for the game – compared to the six for West Alabama.
Sandy Underwood was the games high scorer with 28 points for West Ala-bama, where he helped keep the game close in the first half with a 20-point outburst before the break. He would add nine rebounds and go 3-for-6 on 3-pointers for the game, with all three made shots in the first half.
Shorter returns to Gulf South Conference action on Sunday, December 2 when it travels to in-state rival West Georgia for a 5 pm tip-off in Carrollton.
BERRY WOMEN 104, OGLETHROPE 50
The Berry College women's basketball team opened its Southern Athletic Assocation affiliation with an impressive win on Thursday. Five Vikings scored in double figures as BC won at Oglethrope, 104-50.
Alexa Evans led the way for Berry with19 points She made 5-8 three-pointers. Mel McLean and Chanlir Segarra both netted 18 points. Megan Walsh and Tara Mullinax tallied 14 and 10 points respectively for the visi-tors.
Berry improved to 3-3, 1-0 SAA. The Stormy Petrels dropped to 0-1.
"They pressed us early, and that increased the tempo," said Berry Head Coach Stephanie Dunn. "Unlike some of our other games, we shot well to-night."
Berry led, 51-26, at the break. Oglethorpe applied a press for much of the first half, but it didn't stop the Vikings. The Vikings led 16-3 in fast break points. The visitors committed seven first half turnovers to 11 for OU. BC scored a number of easy baskets and cruised to a big first half lead.
For the game, Berry shot 49-percent (41-83) to 23-percent (14-62) for Ogle-thorpe. The Vikings had 14 three-pointers to two for the home club. BC had a 54-36 rebounding advantage.
Kendelle Culpepper notched a team-best 11 points for the Stormy Petrels. OU committed 23 and caused 15 turnovers in the contest.
Berry travels to Spellman College on Saturday.
Note: The last time Berry broke the century mark was Feb. 16, 2011, when the Vikings beat Hiwasse, 101-43.
OGLETHORPE MEN 82, BERRY 56
Hot-shooting Oglethorpe University defeated the Berry men's basketball team, 82-56, on Thursday night. The game was the first for both teams in the new Southern Athletic Association.
Lake Graham had 17 points and Mac Whalen added 12 for Berry in the de-feat. BC is is now 1-3, 0-1 SAA. Oglethorpe improved to 5-0, and 1-0 in confer-ence.
The Stormy Petrels shot 52-percent (31-60) and drained 12 three-pointers in the game. The Vikings were 22-59 shooting (37-percent) and made six from beyond the arc. OU held a slight 38-36 rebounding advantage.
Despite a strong Berry start, Oglethorpe led at the break, 37-28. The Vi-kings held a 23-15 advantage before the Stormy Petrels closed the half on a 22-5 run. Graham had a game-best 13 points at intermission.
Oglethorpe started the second half on an 11-0 run before Jonathan Abrams (nine points) sank a free throw to make it 49-28 with 15:55 on the clock. As Berry got hot in the second half, Oglethorpe kept matching each shot.
OU notched four players in double figure scoring. Branden Jovaag led the way with 20 points. He was 7-20 from the field and made six three-pointers.
The Vikings host Maryville on Monday night.