Rocky Mount, N.C. - North Carolina Wesleyan's women's basketball team turned in a 73-69 upset of league-leading Ferrum College on Saturday afternoon, spoiling the Panthers' hopes of an out-right USA South regular season crown. Sophomore Monet Edwards recorded her first career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Battling Bishops, who finish the regular season at 12-11 overall. By virtue of their 9-9 conference mark, Wesleyan will enter next week's USA South Tournament as the league's #5 seed.
Prior to Saturday's tip, head coach Artina Trader honored the lone senior member of her squad: Melony Walker. The Bishops then watched as the Panthers opened the game with a 10-0 run, only to return the favor with a 9-0 run of their own. The Panthers twice went up by eight before Wesleyan knotted the score at 22-22 on a Kourtney Salisbury free throw with 6:54 left in the period. The remainder of the half featured three more ties, the final one coming at the break, 31-31.
The Bishops took their first lead of the contest less than two minutes into the second half when Samantha Urquhart drained a jumper that put NCWC on top 35-33. Wesleyan went up by as many as seven over the next eight minutes, but Ferrum battled back to retake the lead, 50-49, on a pair of Boreika Burwell free throws with ten minutes to go. Urquhart twice tied the score at the charity stripe on Wesleyan's ensuing two possessions, while consecutive buckets by Edwards put the Bishops back on top 56-54.
After trading baskets over the next two minutes, FC's Kristen Keith made a lay-up to once more give the Panthers the lead at 60-58. Edwards, however, answered with a huge three-pointer that put NCWC on top for good at 61-60 with just over five minutes left. Though the Panthers had one more tie in them, the Bishops would not trail again as sophomore Tiffany Bell went a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the final 13 seconds to seal the victory.
Bell and Urquhart joined Edwards in double figures with 14 points apiece, while A'leisha Henderson and Derreon Cole chipped in 12 and 10, respectively. Salisbury finished with a game-high six assists. Although the Panthers dominated the boards 52-38, the Bishops made up for it with 23 points off of turnovers and 43 bench points.
Keith paced the Panthers (20-5, 15-3 USA South) with a game-high 23 points.
As the 5th seed, Wesleyan will travel to 4th-seeded Methodist University on Tuesday for a 7:00pm tip-off versus the Monarchs. The two squads split their regular season meetings with each team winning on its home court. For more information on the 2012 USA South Conference Tournament, please visit http://www.usasouth.net/championships/wbkb/index.