The Alice Lloyd College Lady Eagles came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to defeat the Berea College Lady Mountaineers 60-51 in a big conference matchup. The KIAC showdown was held Thursday night at Berea.
In the opening half, the Lady Eagles came out of the gate unsteady. The visitors made several unforced turnovers and failed to find their shooting eye. Berea used this to their full advantage, and they quickly sprinted to a ten point lead (17-7) at 11:00. By the six minute mark, the Mountaineers had extended their cushion to twelve (26-14).
The one saving grace for ALC in the first stanza was the shooting of senior guard Bailey Gabbard. Gabbard drained three late long range bombs to help Alice Lloyd stay within striking distance. When the buzzer sounded for intermission, Berea’s lead was down to three (28-25).
When asked about his clubs first half performance, Lady Eagles Head Coach John Mills replied, “I felt we went out and were never cohesive on either end of the floor. We were playing hard, but were not playing together. We were fortunate to only trail by three.”
In the second half, things initially started out just as poorly for the Lady Eagles as they still had difficulty finding their shooting eye. With 14:30 to go, they trailed by ten and BC was looking to put the game on ice for good. Alice Lloyd refused to fold in the tents however, and the ladies slowly reduced the deficit once more to three (45-43) with just 5:00 remaining.
At this critical juncture, ALC got a huge boost from freshman Carla McDaniel. The hardnosed forward accounted for seven points and several big offensive rebounds. Inspired by McDaniel’s big effort, the other Lady Eagles stepped up their games as well. Alice Lloyd closed the contest on a massive 17-6 run to earn the come-from-behind victory.
ALC (4-15, 1-1 KIAC) was paced by leading scorer Ariel Nickell who tossed in 17 points, including an important 8-10 from the charity stripe. The intense competitor also ripped down a game high 13 rebounds and sparked Alice Lloyd to a huge 47-32 rebounding advantage.
Joining Nickell in scoring double figures was Gabbard with 13. McDaniel finished the night with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Berea (4-15, 1-3 KIAC) was led by 13 points from guard Katelyn Butler.
After the game, a victorious Coach Mills was asked what turned the game around for Alice Lloyd. “We increased our defensive intensity in the last five minutes which led to big buckets on the offensive end,” the Eagles mentor said. “I was also pleased with the play of Carla. She really stepped up for us at crunch time.”
The Eagles coach further added, “After coming off a tough conference home loss, we needed to steal one on the road. Anytime you can go on the road in this conference and earn a win, it’s a big thing. I am really glad to see these hard working ladies prove to themselves that they have what it takes to win in a tough environment.”
With the win, ALC has now tasted victory for the third time in their past four outings.