SAVANNAH, Ga. - Wingate University's Caroline Averette hit a baseline shot with 3.1 seconds remaining to snap a 74-all tie and give the Bulldogs a 76-74 women's college basketball victory over host Armstrong State in the PBC-SAC Challenge on Friday evening at Alumni Arena.
The season opener for both teams wen the way of the Bulldogs (1-0), who are the defending SAC tournament champions from a year ago. Armstrong State falls to 0-1 and will next face defending SAC regular season champion Anderson (SC) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. In the first game of the PBC-SAC Challenge on Friday, Clayton State defeated Anderson (SC), 84-73.
Armstrong State led by one after the first quarter, 16-15, but Wingate used a late jumper by Averette to take a one-point lead into halftime, 33-32. Junior Machala Raymonville hit three three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Pirates open up a seven-point lead in the third quarter, 47-40, with 5:07 remaining. Wingate responded with a 7-0 un over the next two and a half minutes to tie things back up at 47-all. A three-point play by senior Brigitta Barta helped the Pirates take a two-point lead, 52-50, at the third quarter break.
Neither team led by more than five points in the final quarter. Two free throws from Danasia Witherspoon and a three-pointer by Averette gave Wingate a 68-63 lead with 3:59 left, but the Pirates responded with a jumper by Barta and a three-pointer by senior Jessica Doyle to tie things up again.
Doyle hit two free throws to put the Pirates up, 74-72, with 37 seconds left in the contest. Wingate then got two free throws from Witherspoon with 22 seconds left to make the score 74-all. The Pirates tried a baseline pass, which was stolen by the Bulldogs' Courtney Robinson, and Robinson found Averette down the court for her six footer on the baseline that put the Bulldogs up two, 76-74, with 3.1 seconds left.
The Pirates called time out and advanced the ball into the frontcourt. The inbounds pass was deflected by the Bulldogs, but Doyle grabbed the loose ball and got it to Raymonville, who rushed a three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded that caromed off the rim to the left.
Armstrong State placed three players in double figures, led by Barta's game-high 21 points. Doyle finished with 16 points and five assists, while Raymonville notched 13 points.
Wingate placed four players in double figures, led by Witherspoon's 16 points on 3-of-8 shooting from the floor and 10-of-12 shooting from the free throw line, to go with eight rebounds. Shelby Tricoli collected 15 points, while Averette and Marta Miscenko added 11 points apiece.
Armstrong State shot 42.4 percent from the floor (25-of-59) and 35.3 percent from three-point range (6-of-17), while hitting 18-of-25 free throws (72 percent). Wingate shot 41.3 percent from the floor (26-of-63) and hit three of five three-pointers to go with 21 of 31 free throws (67.7 percent).
The PBC-SAC Challenge concludes on Saturday with Wingate facing Clayton State at 2 p.m., followed by the Pirates and the Trojans at 4 p.m.