MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Jan. 7, 2016) – In its second game of the season against a top-25 opponent, the No. 25 Milligan College women’s basketball team was victorious over No. 17 Bryan College 67-66 thanks to freshman Sarah Robinson‘s conference-leading seventh double-double of the season and a game-winning free throw with zeroes on the clock Thursday night at the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
In a matchup featuring the top two teams in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, Milligan remained the only unbeaten team in the AAC at 8-0, notched its second win of the year against a nationally ranked team, and raised its overall record to 14-3, tying Bryan (14-3, 6-2) for the league lead in total wins and taking a two-game lead in the AAC standings. Additionally, the Buffaloes have now won five of their last seven games after suffering their first loss of the season at the end of November. The two latter losses have both come against ranked teams in NAIA Division I.
Tonight, Robinson was the hero, taking the feed from Lindsee Price after Bryan had a chance to hoist the final shot of the game but had it stolen by Callie Cox with four seconds to go. Robinson ran the length of the floor and drew the foul from Erisha Talley with 0.00 to play. Robinson proceeded to sink her first free throw attempt to seal the victory and keep the Buffaloes perfect in conference play.
Robinson finished with 11 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while senior Allison Jones led the Buffs in the scoring column with 17 and added nine boards.
Robinson did most of her damage at the free throw line, going 7-11 from the stripe and 50 percent (2-4) from the field. Jones was also 6-9 from the free throw line.
Andi Lamb, another freshman, scored a career high in points (10) and tied a career-high with five rebounds as five Buffs recorded five boards or more and 10 had at least three.
Robinson’s heroics was set up by a Milligan comeback as the Buffs started the final 10 minutes with an important 7-0 run to get back within a single point at 51-50 after trailing by as many as 11 in the third quarter. The run featured an offensive rebound and putback by Morgan Gose, followed by a jumper from Lamb and was finished off with a defensive board and full-court drive and layup from Jones.
Another important component of the Milligan comeback was the Buffs holding the Lady Lions to only 16.7 percent shooting (2-12) from 3-point ranged in the second half.
The Buffs, however, finished with three 3-pointers in each half, one of which came from Lamb three minutes into the fourth quarter and made the score 56-55 Milligan, giving the Buffs their first lead since four minutes into the second quarter. Bryan then responded with a 7-0 run to take back the advantage at 62-56
Two free throws by Price with 2:10 on the clock tied the game at 64 before back-to-back free throws by Jones and Robinson put Milligan up 66-64 with only 54.6 seconds remaining and capped a 9-2 Buff run.
The third quarter began with the two teams combining to miss the first seven shots of the frame before Milligan battled back to get within six points twice and within five points twice to stay in the game. Milligan only let the Lady Lions get ahead by double digits once. Kelly Barnett, Robinson and Jones combined for 13 of the Buffs’ 15 points in the quarter.
After five Buffs scored in the first quarter and the second quarter began with back-to-back scores from Lamb and Gose to put Milligan in front 19-14, its largest lead of the game, Bryan used runs of 6-0 and 5-0 to retake the lead at 25-21. The Lady Lions would then go on to finish the first half on an 11-3 run to take an eight-point lead, 36-28, into the intermission.
In total, the game featured nine lead changes and seven ties, while the first half itself was the definition of a back-and-forth matchup as it had six lead changes and five ties. Additionally, the Buffs capitalized on Bryan shooting only 53.8 percent from the charity stripe and outscored the Lady Lions 24-13 in bench scoring.
For Bryan, Amber Levi led all scorers with 21 points and had six boards and four steals. Cheyenne Shaver added 10 points while Keila Formont had 10 boards and seven assists.
Milligan, who entered the top-25 in the coaches’ poll this week for the first time since the preseason poll in 2013-14, will have another chance to live up to its ranking as the Buffs take on Point University, who was receiving votes before the latest top-25 poll, this Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. Milligan then returns to the confines of Steve Lacy Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 13, for a 5:30 p.m. showdown with Reinhardt University.