Lander holds off USC Aiken 68-67

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AIKEN, S.C.-- LaShonda Chiles broke NCAA Division II’s all-time scoring record, but it was a rebound that preserved her team’s 2008 Peach Belt Conference Basketball Tournament quarterfinal victory over host USC Aiken on Thursday evening at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

Chiles and the fourth-seeded Bearcats (18-11) watched an 16-point second-half lead narrow to just one, 68-67, and a turnover forced by USC Aiken’s Avonte Williams gave the fifth-seeded Lady Pacers (20-8) two chances at a game-winning shot with 24.6 seconds left. Jordan Thomas’ shot was blocked out of bounds by Stephanie Ponds with 9.1 seconds remaining, then Williams drove to the basket and missed a shot to the left. The 5’2” Chiles grabbed the rebound with 2.9 seconds left, was fouled, and after a miss the Bearcats broke up the outlet pass, keeping Lander’s postseason hopes alive.

Lander will now advance to the semifinals to meet top-seed Francis Marion at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. USC Aiken will now await word of a possible at-large berth to the South Atlantic Regional, which will be announced on Sunday.

Lander led by double-digits early as a three-pointer by PBC Player of the Year Tiara Good gave the Lady Bearcats a 21-11 lead just nine minutes into the contest. That lead would stretch out to 18 on another three-pointer by Good, giving Lander the 38-20 lead with 3:02 left until intermission, and the Bearcats would take a 40-27 lead into the break.

The Pacers climbed back into the game midway through the second half, cutting the lead to six, 56-50, on a Meredith Legg three-pointer with 8:15 left in the game. Another Legg three with 6:45 left cut it to five, and a Williams three-pointer cut the lead to a possession with 39.8 seconds left, 68-65. Another Williams bucket with 25.2 seconds left set up the last-second drama.

Chiles became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division II history on the night with her second three-pointer of the night at the 14:48 minute mark of the first half, passing Dina Kangas of Minnesota-Duluth, who had 2,810 points from 1988 to 1991. With her 14 points tonight, Chiles has 2,819 in her four-year career at Anderson and now at Lander.

Good led all scorers on the night with 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 three-pointers. USC Aiken was led by Meredith Legg’s 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-11 three-pointers, while Williams and Morgan Johnson each finished the night with 15 points.

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