Don’t be surprised if the COVID-reactive 2-game Big South basketball series, men and women alike, take a pattern similar to the one established by the women’s teams of Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb.
A night after the Blue Hose beat the Bulldogs decisively, Gardner-Webb came out late Thursday afternoon like a house afire, or more literally, a passel of yapping canines.
Gardner-Webb split the series by edging the Blue Hose, 47-44, in the first of 10 such conference twinbills this season.
The first quarter was an ugly but determined affair. Gardner-Webb (1-5, 1-1 Big South) scored 11 points, which were nine more than PC, which shot 10 percent (1-10) while G-W was shooting 22.2 (4-18).
The music was “Tenacious D,” though a bit discordant. Presbyterian (2-2, 1-1) clawed its way back in it by halftime, and there the teams remained, scrapping it out inelegantly. The Blue Hose spent the whole second half close but never led. Gardner-Webb won even though the web was frequently tangled. The Bulldogs’ shooting percentage – for the game! – was .271 (16-59). PC shot .318 (14-44) but committed 22 turnovers. Trinity Johnson scored 17 points and Tionna Carter added 15 but they surrendered possession to G-W 11 times between them.
Gardner-Webb’s leading scorers were Jhessyka Williams with 13 points and Lauren Bevis with 10.
The Bulldogs connected on 4-of-25 3-pointers. They were better behind the arc. The Blue Hose were 0-of-10.
Beyond Johnson and Carter, Blue Hose points were mighty scarce. Tess Santos scored 4. Four others – Jade Compton, Nyah Willis, Shamani Stafford and Le’Mesha Madden – each had 2. Compton did, however, grab 10 rebounds from the many missed shots clanking throughout Templeton Center. Johnson and Carter each had 7. PC outrebounded G-W 41-34, and no one wearing gray pulled down more than 6.
The Blue Hose do not play again until visiting Radford for a pair on Dec. 30-31. They’ll probably polish off their shooting touches between now and then.