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Emily Harman
Emily Harman had 17 points to lead the Bears to the win.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Drops Season Opener in Overtime

Down 11 points heading into the final period, the Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball team stormed back to send the game into overtime. However, the Bears fell short as USC Aiken defeated the Bears 74-70 to open the 2023-24 season. Emily Harman had a game-high 23 points and added nine rebounds in the contest. The Bears will return to the court tomorrow to conclude the SAC/PBC Challenge as LR will face Lander.

The Pacers stormed out to an early 8-0 lead in the first 2:35 of the contest before the Bears went on a 15-5 run to take their only lead of the half at 15-13. After a Jalen Gathers layup to start the second quarter tied it at 19 all, USC Aiken went on their second 8-0 run to take a 27-19 lead with 7:39 left in the first half. Gathers’ layup to start the quarter and a Harman jumper with 2:35 left in the half were the Bears only FG’s of the second quarter as the LR was held to 10 points. The Bears were 6-6 from the free throw line in each of the first two quarters.

USC-Aiken took a 38-27 lead into the break as the Pacers shot 43.2% from the field, while the Bears shot 25.9% in the opening half of the season.

The Pacers opened a 53-39 lead with 2:33 left in the third quarter as it looked like USC Aiken was going to cruise the rest of the way for the victory. After the Bears cut the lead to eleven to enter the fourth quarter, LR went on an 11-0 run to open the final frame and tie the game at 56.
Bears opened their biggest lead with 4:06 left to go as Crooks layup gave the Bears a 64-59 lead.

After Pacers tied it at 64-64, the teams traded baskets under a minute to go before Crooks’ jumper at the buzzer went around the rim and fell out to send the game into overtime. Bears got the first basket in overtime but the Pacers then used an 8-2 run to close the game. LR went 1-7 from the field the rest of the way.

Bears went 18-18 from the free throw line in regulation but missed both attempts in overtime. Jalen Gathers had a career high 22 points in 32 minutes off the bench.

Tilda Lindstrom had seven rebounds to finish behind Harman’s team high of nine. Bears shot just 2-16 from long range in the game.

Carson-Newman is hosting this weekend’s PBC/SAC Challenge. After losing the 9 of the first 10 games in the series, the Bears had won three in a row before falling in this contest. Harman has 33 points in two games and Blaikley Crooks scored 29 points in two games vs Aiken.

This was the 1,415th all-time game for the program as the Bears opened the 62nd season. Bears are now 33-28-1 in season openers.

The Bears only had one overtime game last year.

There’s a quick turnaround as the Bears will play Lander Sunday at 1:00 PM to conclude the PBC/SAC Challenge.