RALEIGH, N.C. - Thanks in part to a 20-point second half performance from junior Kristen Alford, the Meredith College Avenging Angels (1-1) managed a composed comeback to claim an 80-79 victory over visiting Emory & Henry (1-2).
Meredith jumped out to a seven-point lead during the opening minutes of today's holiday contest versus the Wasps. But a three-point play followed by another jumper from Emory & Henry's Karina Farr tied the game at 10's with just under 13 minutes remaining.
Junior Rah'nika Jones laid in a bucket seconds later to put the Avenging Angels back on top. But a fluid motion offense from the young Wasp squad led to four layups during the next four minutes to extend the visitor lead back to four at the 8:42 mark.
Keyanka Bailey drilled a three-pointer off a pass from Tyler Gresham to ignite a 10-0 Angel run. Alford capped off the offensive series with back-to-back jumpers, including one of five from behind the arc.
Bailey grabbed a rebound on the defensive end, but a misstep from the Meredith offense gave the ball back to the Wasps.
EHC's Farr picked up an offensive rebound on the next play which led to one of two three-pointers from Michelle Williams in the first period. Her second came at the buzzer to send the Wasps to the locker room with a three-point advantage at the half.
A sluggish Meredith defense returned to the court after the intermission allowing Emory & Henry to extend their lead to 15 in the first four minutes of play.
A pair of key substitutions from Head Coach Melinda Campbell led to an 8-2 run from the Avenging Angels. Alford drilled a pair of threes and freshman Kim Hinton laid in a pass from Gresham to pull Meredith back to single-digits.
EHC countered with another three-pointer from Williams before Hinton teamed up with Gresham for another layup.
The Avenging Angels failed to capitalize on four consecutive Wasp fouls before Emory & Henry's Kristie Langley launched a ball from behind the arc to keep Meredith at bay.
Alford drilled a pair of jumpers and Jones cleared the rim on two from the stripe to pull the hosts to within six at 10:25.
Meredith hovered around a six-point deficit during the next six minutes of play when Alford launched her fifth three-pointer on the night to pull the Avenging Angels to within four with just 4:26 remaining in the game. Laquetta Hairston picked up a steal at the top of the key and passed ahead to Alford for a layup forcing Emory & Henry to whistle for a timeout.
The Wasps missed a pair of free throws and turned over an offensive rebound to give Bailey the ball back for a jumper to tie the game 71-71 at 3:33.
The teams tied the game on four more occasions before Hairston gave her team a one-point advantage at the line with just 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
EHC whistled for a timeout to set up the next play. The team picked up an offensive rebound on a missed layup to give the Wasps two chances to regain the lead. But Bailey tipped away a steal on the next pass to seal the Meredith win.
Bailey tallied 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists in the win. Hinton dropped in 10 points, adding three rebounds. Danielle Lee led Meredith with 10 rebounds and Hairston offered a game-high seven assists on the night.
Langley and Williams led the Wasps with 19 and 18 points, respectively, including a combined 55% from behind the arc. Farr dropped in 15 points and picked up 10 rebounds in the loss.
Meredith travels Monday night to Greensboro to face Guilford College at 7 p.m. Link here to follow the action live.