Women's Basketball: Panthers stop Berry 58-48 in USA South/SAA Challenge

Women's Basketball: Panthers stop Berry 58-48 in USA South/SAA Challenge

ATLANTA, Ga. - Sophomore Lauren Johnson had a game-high 19 points as LaGrange stopped Berry 58-48 in the USA South/SAA Challenge being hosted by Oglethorpe University.

The Panthers upped their record to 3-2 in stopping a three-game losing streak to the Vikings (2-3). They finish the tournament Sunday against the host Stormy Petrels.

"We had a really good team effort today and played very hard," said Coach Lee Buchanan. "Our team defense was really good and we made it very tough for them to score. Offensively, we hit some big shots down the stretch."

Johnson was 6-of-8 from the floor, including making both of her 3-point attempts. She was the only Panthers in double figures. Emma Cook led Berry with 16 points.

The Panthers held the Vikings to 34 percent shooting in the game, including just 1-for-11 from 3-point range. The Panthers forced 23 turnovers, 18 coming off steals. Kymberli Payno had five steals for the Panthers. 

The Panthers never trailed in the game. They scored the game's first 10 points and held a 24-19 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Johnson's layup gave the Panthers their largest lead 36-24. They took a 38-28 lead into the final period.

Berry cut the lead to five, 40-35, with 6:30 left. Marilauren Farr's basket with 2:21 remaining pushed the Panthers' lead to 11, 51-40.

Leading by six in the closing seconds, the Panthers put the game out of reach on free throws by Hannah Landers and Haley McNeil, followed by a layup by Bethany Howard  off a steal for the 58-48 final.

"Right now, we're getting contrbutions from a lot of different players and we are getting better each day," said Buchanan. "It will be another tough game tomorrow against Oglethorpe."