Sophomore forward Ariel Nickell tossed in 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, but the Alice Lloyd Lady Eagles dropped a disappointing 80-71 decision to the visiting Kentucky Christian University Lady Knights. The contest was played at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center on November 1st.
Kentucky Christian, who has dominated the NCCAA Women’s Division by winning the National Championship 5 consecutive seasons and an incredible 8 out of the last 9, showed from the onset why they are the heavy favorite to win it all again this year.
The first half was nip and tuck. However, with Knight guard Tanya Bowens tossing in 12 first half points, KCU pulled ahead 36-34 at the break.
Kentucky Christian slowly extended their lead to 8 points before the Eagles fought back to cut the deficit to 2 with enough time remaining for a comeback. Unfortunately, the Knights, who shot a blistering 60% from the floor in the second half, went on a 12-4 run and put the contest out of reach.
On the night, KCU outshot the Eagles 53% to 43%, and also won the battle of the boards (36-31).
After the matchup, Lady Eagle Coach John Mills said, “Tonight’s game against Kentucky Christian University was a big test for our team. They are well coached and very seasoned. We played well in spots, but the game is forty minutes, not twenty-eight minutes long. My role as coach is to get the other twelve minutes out of my players, and I do not feel that I had them ready tonight.” Mills added, “We played hard and gave a good effort. However, when you play against a powerful program like KCU, you can’t afford any bad stretches. We will keep our heads up, get back to the gym, and continue working hard.”
For ALC (0-1), in addition to Nickell (Tazwell, TN–Clairborne High), senior forward Nicole Durman (Lexington–Tates Creek High) came off the bench to toss in 13 points and pull down 6 rebounds. Fellow senior Gemma Gray (Manchester–Clay Co. High) chipped in with 12.
For the Knights (1-0), the backcourt of Bowen and Autumn Carter led the victors with 20 and 19 points, respectively.
ALC returns to action on Saturday, November 5th, as they travel to Ohio to face Mt. Vernon University at 1pm. They return home on Tuesday, November 8th for a matchup with the Pikeville Bears. Tip–off is set for 7pm.