RALEIGH, N.C. - The Meredith College (3-7, 1-3 USA South) basketball team held a tough Methodist Monarch (8-2, 4-1 USA South) squad to a six-point first half lead. But the visitors amped up the defensive pressure in the second period to widen the gap for a 66-50 win.
Keyanka Bailey scored seven of Meredith's first nine points as the Avenging Angels ran the court in the first period.
The Avenging Angels pushed the ball up the floor and made free throws to extend the lead to seven in the first 10 minutes of action.
But Methodist's Jalisia Campbell sparked a 12-0 MU run with a solo move to the basket on the next play to push the Monarchs out in front by five with 2:58 remaining in the half.
On the next MU miss Raven Gregory grabbed the rebound and dished out to Bailey. Bailey drove the full length of the court to score two.
Gregory picked up an easy bucket inside with the bonus thanks to an offensive board by Rah'nika Jones to pull to within four. But a last second layup from MU's offensive leader Jackie Lyles carried the Monarchs into the locker room up by six.
The team's exchanged points in the early minutes of the second period with the Avenging Angels within a six-point striking distance at 13:25.
MU initiated their full court press to rattle the Meredith guards, and the visitors scored 11 unanswered points to take a 17-point advantage at 10:05.
Beginning with a pair from rookie Jessi Hayes, the Avenging Angels hit eight consecutive free throws to pull to within 13 at 6:05. And Brittaney Rice scored just the second of two Meredith three-pointers three minutes later to get as close as 12.
Methodist made their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Meredith was much improved from the stripe hitting 20-of-27 on the night, including a near perfect 10-of-11 in the second half. But the Avenging Angels still struggled from the field, hitting only two in 16 attempts from behind the arc.
Bailey led Meredith with 20 points, adding four rebounds and three blocks. Laquetta Hairston dished out three assists and grabbed five boards from the perimeter.
A trio of Monarchs posted double-digit scoring to lead MU to a decisive win. Lyles netted 22 with Alexis Wallace adding 18 and Campbell knocking down 14. Wallace recorded 12 boards for a double-double.
After back-to-back weekend trips to Georgia, the Avenging Angels earned a weekend off. Meredith returns to action next Wednesday to face the N.C. Wesleyan Battling Bishops in Rocky Mount. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Everett Gymnasium.