St. Catharine, Ky. -- For a little while on Thursday night it looked as though the Patriot women’s basketball team (5-12, 0-5 MSC) was going to knock off one of the two remaining undefeated teams left in the NAIA, but Pikeville (Ky.) outscored the Patriots 46-28 over the final two quarters to spoil the upset bid and walk out of Lourdes Hall with a 71-58 win.
Kayla Wilson (Corbin, Ky.) paced the Patriots with 22 points, while Sasha Ruiz-Lopez (Ft. Myers, Fla.) and Cora Moore (Louisville, Ky.) finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Patrice Tonge (Lebanon, Ky.) pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, but the Bears (17-0, 4-0 MSC) still won the rebounding battle 42-38. The Patriots won the rebounding battle on the defensive end, 27-22, but the main difference was on the offensive end where the Bears outrebounded the Patriots 20-11, leading to a 22-8 edge in 2nd chance points.
The first ten minutes was a back-and-fourth-battle that saw the Patriots take a 17-14 lead into the second period. After the game was tied at 23 apiece, the Patriots took off on a 7-0 run to take a seven point advantage. The Bears hit a bucket late to cut the lead to five, 30-25, at halftime.
Right out of the gate in the second half, the Bears cut the lead to three on two separate occasions, but on the second the Patriots responded with a 7-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 39-31 midway through the third quarter. Over the final 5:45 in the third period, Pikeville turned up the defensive pressure and went on a 14-3 run to take a 48-44 lead into the final period.
The Bears continued to turn up the pressure in the fourth quarter as they took control of the game. In the final frame the Bears had runs of 7-0 and 8-0 to make sure there was no comeback from the Patriots as the Bears sealed the win in the fourth quarter 71-58.
The defensive pressure from the Bears in the second half forced the Patriots into 28 turnovers on the night. The Bears turned it over 17 times themselves, but they still had 28 points off the Patriot miscues, whereas St. Catharine only had five points off turnovers.
The Patriots will return to action this Saturday when they take on Cumberlands (Ky.) at 2 p.m. ET in another Mid-South Conference showdown.