February 5, 2014

Women's Basketball: Barker's career night leads Panthers against Piedmont

DEMOREST, Ga. - Madison Barker had a career night for LaGrange in a USA South game at Piedmont on Wednesday.

Barker scored a game and career-high 20 points as a second half rally by the Panthers (12-8, 6-5 USA South) fell short in a 76-72 loss to the Lions (13-6, 7-3 USA South).

"A disappointing loss, I really hurt for our players right now," Coach Lee Buchanan said. "We just couldn't get stops when we needed them and Piedmont hit some big free throws down the stretch. 

"We must continue to work at our game and continue to stay focused and positive. There are no easy games left on our schedule."

Kelsey Mitchell followed Barker with 11 points. Chandler Alverson and Mary Kate Rushton each had 17 points for Piedmont.

Piedmont only trailed in the game twice. Mitchell's basket put the Panthers up 9-8 in the first seven minutes of the game. She and Barker combined for 19 of the Panthers' 29 first half points, as the Lions led 38-29.

The Lions opened up a 16-point lead, 55-39, six minutes into the second half. But the Panthers answered with a scoring spree of their own.

Over a four and a half minute span, the Panthers went on a 19-0 run to overtake the Lions. Alex Wilson had all eight of her game points, including a 3-pointer to finish the run, putting the Panthers ahead 58-55 with 9:25 remaining.

Piedmont then scored the next eight points to take the lead back for good. The Lions hit five free throws in the final 25 seconds to hold off the Panthers.

The Panthers play at Maryville in a USA South game Saturday. Tip-off is 2 p.m.