Women's Basketball: Panthers upend Piedmont 70-59 behind Lauren Johnson's career game

Women's Basketball: Panthers upend Piedmont 70-59 behind Lauren Johnson's career game

Lauren Johnson's career game helped LaGrange upend Piedmont 70-59 in a USA South game Sunday in Mariotti Gym. The Panthers are now 13-9 overall and 7-4 in conference play.

The Panthers' win over the Lady Lions was a stunning reversal from their first meeting.  Piedmont won 78-31 two Sundays ago, the largest margin of victory in the series.

Johnson poured in 23 points to lead all scorers. Austin Richardson came off the bench to score 11 points, while Jeris Johnson had 10 and a game-high eight rebounds.

"Our team was so solid today even with all the adversity and chaos," said Coach Lee Buchanan. "The team was so ready to play this weekend and prepared all week for two really tough games."

The Panthers committed 29 turnovers in the game. But Piedmont was held to 27 percent shooting in the game and only shot 21.2 percent in the second half.

"Even though we had too many turnovers, our defense was terrific," Buchanan said. "We had so many big stops at crucial times, plus our free throws and rebounds turned out to be the difference."

The Panthers shot 82.9 percent from the line, making 29-of-35 free throws in the game. They held a 41-37 edge in rebounding.

Piedmont (16-7, 9-3 USA South) scored the game's first seven points. The Panthers tied the game at 17 by the end of the first period.

Johnson's 3-pointer early in the second quarter put the Panthers up for the first time, 24-22. Though Piedmont would tie the game late in the third period, LC would never trail again in the game.

Jeris Johnson's two free throws put LaGrange up 37-27 with 3:07 left in the half. The Panthers would take a 40-35 lead into halftime.

Piedmont would catch the Panthers briefly in the third quarter. Bridgette Kelly's layup tied the game at 45. Richardson ended the period with a steal and layup at the other end gave the Panthers a 47-45 lead.

Piedmont got as close as four points in the final stanza, but the Panthers held on. LC scored its final 13 points from the free throw line to pull away at the end.

The Panthers host Huntingdon in a USA South game Wednesday.