The Bruins women’s basketball team took on Barber-Scotia College in Concord, N.C., last Thursday and topped the Sabers 65-49.
With the Bruins looking for their fourth win in five games and the Sabers hoping to improve for two wins on the season, the Bruins wasted no time getting out in front. Productive play from junior Kim Spiecker and sophomore Kendra Jeffcott resulted in a commanding lead several minutes in. But the home team was able to take advantage of Bruins turnovers and went on a 16-0 run. The two teams went back and forth, and the Bruins led at the break 32-30.
BJU came back out with a different defensive look after halftime. The Sabers couldn’t handle the pressure as the Bruins continued to score and increase the lead. With a score of 65-49, BJU moved to 8-3 on the season while handing Barber-Scotia their 13th loss.
The Bruins traveled to Toccoa Falls College on Friday, extending their winning streak as the Eagles failed to earn their third win of the season. BJU dominated the paint, but the Eagles managed to stay within a few points. The Bruins committed several turnovers and the Eagles capitalized, bringing the halftime score to within four points at 27-23.
The Bruins women came back out with a reworked defense, and the Eagles had trouble finding good scoring opportunities. BJU broke the game open, giving the Bruins a 61-46 win and a 9-3 record.
“The past two games helped us stay mentally strong,” said sophomore Chalice Pack. “We had interesting courts and interesting opponents. I think it was just a mental game for us.”
On Tuesday, the Truett-McConnell College Bears traveled from Georgia to battle it out against the Bruins women. The Bruins defeated Truett-McConnell in early November by two points and won again Tuesday night with an overtime buzzer-beater from junior Trisha Irving. Junior Breanna Bullard assisted Jeffcott for a 3-pointer to trigger the scoring. The Bears made mistakes that cost them a lot of turnovers in the beginning of the game, and BJU was able to build a small initial lead.
Spiecker was plagued with three fouls before halftime, and as the first half was winding down, the Bruins lost both their composure and the lead. Bruins remained close by knocking down free throws, but at the end of the first half the Bears were up 17-23.
Following the break, BJU fought until they were tied 26-26 with the Bears. Spiecker received her fourth foul in the first 10 minutes of the half, and the Bears kept making buckets and regaining a lead on the Bruins. The intensity skyrocketed for the last 10 minutes of the half. The Bruins caught up and Spiecker fouled out.
With Spiecker on the bench, BJU rose to the challenge and was ready to finish the game. Only two points were needed to tie the Bears. With only 10 seconds left, Irving dribbled the ball to the top of the key. Picks were set for her, but she could not get around the Bears’ tight defense. Irving powered through the defense into the middle lane and shot the ball for a bucket that tied the game 42-42. Fans rose to their feet as the DFH came to life.
Overtime was rough for the Bruins. The Bruins women faced aggressive play from the Bears, but in the end BJU held the advantage with free throws. “You just play your game, and you can’t worry what they do,” Bullard said. “You just have to do what you know how to do. We all can contribute. It’s not just one outstanding player.”
Altogether, free-throw shooting played a factor in the victory; BJU had 23 points on free throws as opposed to the Bears’ 10. The final buzzer rang and the Bruins triumphed with a 57-49 victory. Jeffcott had 14 points and Irving had 16. Freshman Brianna Delaney contributed a double-double with 15 rebounds and 11 points.
“We were just struggling offensively, to execute our plays,” Pack said. “We couldn’t have done it without our fans.”
The Bruins, now 10-3, have two more home games (one today and the other on Dec. 19) before they head home for Christmas break.