Women's Basketball: Panthers down visiting Meredith 53-41 to improve to 9-4

Women's Basketball: Panthers down visiting Meredith 53-41 to improve to 9-4

LaGrange got a game-high 15 points from Kelsey Walthall in turning back Meredith 53-41 in Mariotti Gym on Saturday. The Panthers upped their USA South record to 3-1 and overall mark to 9-4.

"I'm really pleased with the win tonight. Meredith is a tough team and well coached. They have defeated us the last two seasons, so this win is gratifying," Coach Lee Buchanan said. "I thought we played hard and once again our defense was very good.

"Holding a team that was averaging 66 points per game in conference play to 41 points says a lot about our defensive effort and hustle."

The 41 points allowed matched the lowest output by a Panther opponent this season. The Panthers held Meredith to 25.5 percent shooting in the game. The Avenging Angels had five first half 3-pointers but went 0-for-6 beyond the arc in the second half.

Walthall was 4-of-7 from the floor, including making her second 3-pointer of the season. She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. 

Lauren Johnson followed Walthall with 11 points. Kelsey Mitchell had seven points, a team-best six rebounds and four assists.

"Offensively we struggled a bit, but we shot free throws well and turned the ball over only eight times (a season low)," Buchanan pointed out.

The Panthers trailed only once in the game. Walthall, who had 11 of her points in the first half, sank two free throws to break a 20-20 tie with five minutes left in the half. The Panthers led 29-25 at the break.

The Panthers opened up a double-digit lead in the third period. Two more free throws from Walthall gave the Panthers a 40-29 cushion.

Meredith never got closer. The Panthers led 47-36 after three quarters and led by as many as 14 in the final period.

"We once again had a real team effort and a quality team win," said Buchanan. "Now we have a quick turnaround and play Mary Baldwin tomorrow."

Sunday's game in Mariotti Gym begins at 1 p.m. The Panthers will host Piedmont on Wednesday to wrap-up a four-game home stand.