Greensboro, N.C. / Winston-Salem, N.C. - Senior KeChae Parker averaged 26.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game over the weekend, leading her Battling Bishops to a road split in USA South women's hoops action at Greensboro and Salem.
Wesleyan opened the 2018 portion of its schedule on Saturday at league foe Greensboro College and gave the division-leading Pride all they could handle before falling in overtime, 94-89.
Greensboro (8-2, 4-0 USA South) forged a slim 31-26 lead at the half after the Bishops struggled from the floor over the first two quarters. NCWC, in fact, tallied 16 its first half points at the charity stripe alone. The third quarter, however, was a different story as Wesleyan came out on fire. The Bishops knocked down over 68 percent of their attempts in the period (11-of-16) and trailed just 57-55 entering the final ten minutes of regulation.
GC's Katie Lewis and NCWC's Kayla Johnson traded three-pointers to open the fourth quarter, and after exchanging a pair of jump shots, sophomore Vontasia Olds brought the Bishops even, 62-62, with a pair of free throws at the 7:46 mark. The Pride pushed back on top by four points on two occasions, but Wesleyan countered each time. Parker's old-fashioned three-point play would eventually give the Bishops their first lead of the period, 72-70, with 3:12 remaining. A Nadiya Holley jumper later put NCWC up 76-72, but the Bishops would let Greensboro hang around by missing three of their next four free throw attempts.
The final 20 seconds saw the Pride twice tie the game -- the first at 79-79 after a crucial NCWC turnover resulted in a Lewis lay-up. Parker again answered for Wesleyan with with what looked to be the game-winning bucket with just five ticks left on the clock. Trailing 81-79, Greensboro proceeded to take its final timeout to advance the ball up the court, and the Pride elected to go for the win with a Lewis trey that missed. Unfortunately, an offensive rebound and jumper by GC's Sabria Joseph found the bottom of the net as time expired to force OT.
The extra frame belonged to the Pride on their home court, as they out-scored the Bishops 13-8 to secure the 94-89 victory to stay perfect in conference play. The difference in the game came at the free throw line where Wesleyan connected on just 32-of-50 attempts on the day.
Parker finished with 28 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Javana Jones added 11 points and seven boards of her own. Sophomore Caila Spruill notched her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Freshmen Keorra Taylor, along with Johnson and Holley, scored 10 points each to round out six Bishops in double-figures.
Lewis paced Greensboro with a team-high 21 points.
Wesleyan bounced back on Sunday at Salem College, holding on for a 71-66 victory. The Bishops erased a 41-39 halftime deficit by out-scoring the Spirits 16-11 in the third quarter. Parker and Holley combined for 12 of Wesleyan's points in the period, while defensively, NCWC held Salem to less than 24 percent accuracy from the field.
Wesleyan did not trail in the fourth quarter as Parker netted nine of her team-high 25 points in the period to help NCWC secure the five-point win. She grabbed 11 rebounds to complete the double-double.
Salem (4-8, 2-3 USA South) was led by Sabrina Shepherd with 25 points and 15 boards.
The Bishops (5-7, 2-3 USA South) return to action Wednesday night in Everett Gym when they host Pfeiffer University at 7:30pm.