SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Gardner-Webb fought back from a ten-point halftime deficit to defeat USC Upstate, 57-53, Saturday afternoon.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (3-3) were down as much as 16 points in the second period and started the second half down by ten, but rallied to take a lead late in the third period. GWU had three players reach double figures in scoring, as Kiera Currie, Lovely Locklear, and Evelyn Adebayo each had ten points. Currie also led the team with nine rebounds. USC Upstate (3-4) was led in scoring by Raven Jefferson with 15 points.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 6-4 lead in the first period following a Currie jumper with 7:38 on the clock, yet USC Upstate would take control, building a 14 point lead at 27-13 with 0:29 to go in the period. Adebayo would nail a jumper with seven seconds remaining to set the score at 27-15 after the opening period.
The Spartans would push their lead to 16 points with 8:43 to go in the second period at 33-17, the the Runnin' Bulldogs would go on a 6-0 run to pull within 10 at 33-23 following a layup by Morgan Pointer with 5:56 on the clock. GWU would cut the deficit down to six points with 2:40 remaining after a layup from Savannah Plentovich, but USC Upstate would push the lead back to double-digits, 43-33, to close the first half.
The Runnin' Bulldogs opened the second half with a quick 6-0 run in the first two minutes of the third period to pull within four points at 43-39 after a layup from Tierra Huntsman. Gardner-Webb would later take a brief lead at 51-49 after a jumper from Currie with 34 seconds remaining in the period, but the Spartans would answer just seconds later to tie the score at 51-51 after three periods.
The final period was tightly contested, with neither team being able to score for the nearly the first 2:30 of the frame, until Adebayo was able to knock down a jumper with 7:34 remaining to give GWU a 53-51 advantage. Locklear would make a layup with 6:27 to go to give the Runnin' Bulldogs a four-point cushion and Currie would convert two free throws in the final seconds to seal the win for Gardner-Webb, with a final score of 57-53.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will next be in action on Monday, December 5th as they travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.