Some coaches like to schedule easy opponents for their teams first contest of the season. Berea College Women's Basketball Head Coach is not one of those coaches, as the women's basketball team traveled up I-75 today to take the #25 ranked (USA Today) Pioneers of Transylvania University. Besides a national ranking, Transy is the defending Heartland Conference Champions and were recently picked by their leagues coaches to repeat as such this season.
Milby's Mountaineers gave the Pioneers all they could handle and a little more before falling 64-59, in a game much closer than the score indicated. BC got on the board first as freshman forward Alexus Calhoun grabbed a missed shot and put it back up in and in for the first points of her collegiate career and the first of the season for the Blue Crew. Transy would run off the next 10 straight points to show why they are among the elite teams in NCAA Division III.
The Mountaineers would prove their resolve as they chipped away to even the score then go on their own run late in the half to go up 31-25. From there, the Pioneers used defensive pressure and sloppy ball handling on the Mountaineer's part to even the score at half-time 31-31.
Transy came out the locker-room hot after the break, as their defense forced several BC turnovers and held Mountaineers scoreless and until Johnesha Warren's layup after a Milby timeout some five minutes into the 2nd half. The Mountaineers continued to play catch-up throughout the second half. With 2:45 showing on the clock, back-to-back baskets by Calhoun cut the Pioneer lead to a single point at 56-57.
A Pioneer timeout, two more turnovers, and a Warren's fifth foul would be a combination of factors that the Blue Crew could not overcome on the road, and the Pioneers made their free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
For the Mountaineers Warren led the way 16 points before fouling out; while Adriana Williams netted nine points, and Rayven Shed and Calhoun each added eight. Calhoun and Warren each collected six rebounds to lead BC.
Head Coach Trent Milby was pleased and disappointed at the same time; "we played well on the road against a very good team. We have take better care of the ball, and we still need to work on our conditioning and where our players need to be on offense."
The Mountaineers head west on Tuesday to tangle with former KIAC rival Brescia University, tipoff set for 7:00 pm EST.