SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Armstrong State University women's basketball team knocked off the first-place Lander University Bearcats, 87-73, in Peach Belt Conference action on Wednesday evening at Alumni Arena.
The win helps the Pirates (12-12, 10-7 PBC) keep hopes alive of hosting a first-round tournament contest while handing Lander (21-5, 14-3 PBC) just its third league loss of the season. Armstrong will wrap up its home schedule on Saturday, February 21st, hosting UNC Pembroke at 1:30 p.m. for Senior Day at Alumni Arena.
Lander took a 4-2 lead less than a minute in on a basket by Kayla West, but Armstrong would get back-to-back baskets by Alexia Somerset and Amber Howell to take a 6-4 lead. The Pirates would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way, building as large as an 18-point lead in the second half.
The Pirates shot 48.4 percent from the field in building a 42-29 edge at the break despite committing 16 first-half turnovers. Lander shot just 30.6 percent in the first half.
Armstrong held a 16-point lead, 66-50, with 9:22 remaining but were held without a field goal over the next five and a half minutes. Lander cut the lead during that stretch to four points, 71-67, on a layup by West but the Pirates would get a layup by Nichole Findura and a three-pointer from Shermika Harris to stretch the lead back out to nine points and Armstrong would then make nine-of-10 free throws over the final two and a half minutes to preserve the win.
Senior Dee Hayward led all scorers on the night with 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and a perfect 5-for-5 on three-point attempts, while also hitting 6-of-6 free throws. Sophomore Brigitta Barta notched a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 5-of-11 shots from the floor and 14-of-16 from the free throw line. Harris added 16 points as well for the Pirates.
Lander was led by Bre Crum's 16 points, Breshay Johnson's 14 points and Kayla West's 10 points.
Armstrong finished the game shooting 44.4 percent from the floor (24-of-54) but hit 6-of-11 three-pointers for 54.5 percent and also hit 33-of-43 free throws for 76.7 percent. Lander finished the night hitting just 33.8 percent from the floor (24-of-71) and just 5-of-19 from three-point range (26.3 percent). The Bearcats did go 20-of-26 from the free throw line for 76.9 percent.