MORROW, Ga. – A near perfect half of basketball staked sixth-seeded Pfeiffer to a 20-point halftime lead against third-seeded Anderson (S.C.) en route to claiming an 84-78 victory in the opening round of the 2013 Division II tournament. The Lady Falcons hit all eight free-throw attempts in the final 1:03 to advance to Saturday’s region semifinal. The Lady Falcons moved to 25-6 overall while the Trojans finished at 23-9.
Anderson came out early with a 13-9 lead after an Alissa Diaz 3-pointer with 4:30 gone by in the first half. On the next Pfeiffer possession, Jodie Lemons knocked down her first 3 that would start a massive 15-1 run that included 3s from Lemons again and Christina Harvey to help put the Lady Falcons up 24-14. Kellie Rhoney tossed in a layup to give Pfeiffer that 10-point lead with 10:44 remaining in the half.
Anderson would get back to within four, 26-22, with 8:37 to play as Madison Floyd drained back-to-back triples before the Lady Falcons opened up the first half on a 17-0 run. A pair of Harvey free throws started the stretch while four consecutive points from Lemons and a 3 by Brittany Cox pushed the advantage out to 13, 35-22, with 5:14 to play. Lemons ended the run with eight consecutive points, including two more 3s, as Pfeiffer carried a 50-30 lead into the half.
The Trojans trimmed the deficit to nine coming up on the midway point of the second half as Diaz started the run with a jumper in the paint in front of Breonda Shannon’s four consecutive points. Diaz hit two from the charity stripe to put the score at 57-48 before another Lemons long-range trey stifled the run. Harvey and Lemons helped keep the lead at 13 until Anderson got it down to a half-dozen with 3:53 to play.
Shannon and Harvey traded baskets heading into the final media timeout before a Tilde Ahlin 3 knocked the lead back down to six with 2:09 play. After a layup by Diaz again cut it to six with 1:26 to play, the Lady Falcons begin to ice the game at the free-throw line. Lemons hit two with 63 seconds left before Harvey hit two to push the lead back to six with 27 ticks left. Diaz knocked down a pair with 10 seconds left to make it an 80-78 before four final free throws from Cox and a steal by Rhoney on the final in-bounds pass sealed the win.
Lemons led all scorers with 27 points, shooting six of nine from the field, including five triples, and all 10 free-throw attempts. Harvey finished with 26 points, moving from ninth to seventh on the school’s all-time scoring list, on nine of 15 shooting, while Cox contributed 20 points on 50 percent shooting. As a team, Pfeiffer shot 52 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free-throw line while holding Anderson to 38 percent and just eight of 31 from behind the arc.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” Pfeiffer head coach Jill Thomas said. “We fought hard, dominated the first half and made the late free throws we needed to.”
Pfeiffer, which won the school’s first national tournament game, advances to the semifinal round at 5 p.m. Saturday. It will face a familiar Conference Carolinas opponent. The Lady Falcons will take on No. 2 Limestone for a trip to Monday night’s region championship.