Thursday, February 07, 2013
Ferrum women move to top spot in USA South
The Panthers avenged their only conference loss of the season by beating Maryville.
FERRUM - There is still no banner in Ferrum's gym recognizing the women's basketball team for its success last season, when the Panthers were USA South champs and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Perhaps the school is waiting until next month, when it might be able to hang two banners at the same time.
The Panthers grabbed sole possession of first place in the USA South with a 62-59 win over Maryville on Wednesday.
Ferrum guards Tesla Akers (16 points) and Shea Smith (12 points) hugged each other at game's end.
"We set goals at the beginning of this season that this team was just as good or better than the team we had last year, and we still feel that way," Akers said. "We have a lot of high hopes."
The Panthers (19-2, 13-1) and Maryville (18-3, 12-2), the only USA South team to have beaten Ferrum this season, entered the game tied atop the league standings. Ferrum has four regular season games left.
"Big win for us," coach Bryan Harvey said. "We're sitting in a pretty good spot now."
Ferrum is ranked No. 21 in Division III in the d3hoops.com Top 25 poll and No. 24 in the USA Today coaches poll. Maryville (Tenn.) is No. 23 in the USA Today poll.
It was Ferrum's third win over a ranked foe this season.
This could be the second straight year Ferrum earns the top seed in the USA South tournament, but that does not bring the same reward it did last season.
Last year, Ferrum got to be at home for all three rounds of the league tournament. But the format has changed this season. This year, the entire tournament will be held at a neutral site, Crown Center Arena in Fayetteville, N.C.
"That stinks," Akers said.
"It's funny, for years we fought for a neutral site," Harvey said.
"And then this year, you know you're going to have a chance to be at the top of the league and we go to a neutral site. ... It sure would be nice to be at home in the tournament."
League newcomer Maryville beat Ferrum 79-70 at home last month but shot just 36.4 percent from the field in the rematch.
Maryville's leading scorer this season, Janell Menard, suffered a sprained ankle with Ferrum up 35-19 with 1:39 left in the first half.
She did not return to the game.
Down 53-42 with 7:16 to go, Maryville went on a 15-4 run.
Maryville's Kiera Payne scored to tie the game at 57 with 1:43 left. She was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.
Franklin County graduate Boreika Burwell sank two free throws to give Ferrum a 59-57 lead.
After a missed jumper by Maryville's Mackenzie Puckett, Smith got the rebound and was fouled. Smith (Franklin County) made two free throws for a 61-57 cushion with 22.7 seconds to go.
Ferrum was 19 of 25 from the free-throw line to Maryville's 4 of 8.
"When you shoot eight free throws for the game and your opponent shoots 25, that's a heck of a lot to try to make up," Scots coach Darrin Travillian said.
MARYVILLE (18-3, 12-2)
Burnett 6-8 0-0 17, T. Smith 6-9 1-2 13, Bond 3-8 1-2 8, Menard 1-6 2-2 4, Payne 3-17 0-2 6, Puckett 5-12 0-0 11, Farmer 0-5 0-0 0, Robbins 0-0 0-0 0, Elliot 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-66 4-8 59.
FERRUM (19-2, 13-1)
Culler 2-4 2-2 6, Kipps 3-9 3-5 9, Hairston 3-7 3-4 9, Akers 5-10 1-2 16, S. Smith 3-8 6-8 12, Goins 1-4 2-2 4, Burwell 1-2 2-2 4, Crawford 0-0 0-0 0, Rhodes 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-46 19-25 62.
Halftime- Ferrum, 36-22. Three-pointers- Maryville 7-22 (Bond 1-5, Menard 0-3, Burnett 5-6, Puckett 1-4, Farmer 0-3, Elliot 0-1), Ferrum 5-12 (Hairston 0-1, Akers 5-9, Goins 0-2). Rebounds- Maryville 33 (Bond 7, T. Smith 7, Puckett 7), Ferrum 37 (Culler 13). Fouls- Maryville 19, Ferrum 11. Fouled out- Maryville (Payne). Assists- Maryville 12 (Payne 5), Ferrum 12 (S. Smith 8). Turnovers- Maryville 16, Ferrum 20. A- 650.